Steve Kerr should have benched Draymond Green and given his minutes to Kevon Looney. That’s how bad Green played in Game 2 against the Rockets.
Sure, the Warriors won Game 1 in Houston, and Game 2 didn’t really matter. They needed only one road victory. Now, they have home-court advantage. And if they win the three remaining games at Oracle, they win the series. And the Warriors haven’t lost a playoff game at home since Kevin Durant joined the team. Sure.
But, Green was so bad in Game 2, and he was just the beginning of the problems that make the Warriors vulnerable in this series.
These are their five biggest issues.
1. Draymond Green is trying too hard to make an impact.
He needs to embrace his role as a supporting actor against the Rockets. He can’t be the lead like he was against the Pelicans.
The Warriors wouldn’t have beaten the Pelicans without Green. He was the MVP of that series, the focal point of the Warriors offense and defense. He averaged a triple double, and guarded Anthony Davis, the best scoring big man in basketball, and made Davis quit. Punked him.
Green can’t affect the Rockets the same way. He has to stand in a corner and guard a stationary 3-point shooter, or stand under the basket and box out Rockets center Clint Capela, who has no offensive game. Capela’s signature move, such as it is, involves running to the basket and tipping the ball in on a pass from someone else. He never posts up. Doesn’t know how.
“Houston is trying to break you down to either get a layup or a 3, which means there’s a lot more ground to cover, a lot more rotations,” Kerr said Friday after practice. “Draymond is not going to be able to be in the mix as much.”
And he can’t stand it. He kept wandering to the middle of the floor, into the spotlight, when he should have been standing in a corner on defense in Game 2. He forced his teammates to cover for him being out of position. And they gave up eight corner 3s.
The Rockets aren’t guarding Green on offense. He is shooting only 30 percent from the field, and he hasn’t made a 3 in this series. He’s passing up open shots and layups, hunting for assists and forcing passes. He leads the team with 3.5 turnovers per game. He committed four turnovers in the first half of Game 2. That’s a big reason the Warriors lost.
The Rockers will win this series if Green keeps doing too much and — sports cliché here — loses his focus.
2. Kevin Durant’s offense.
The Warriors haven’t run the offense through Stephen Curry since he returned recently from a six-week knee injury. They have run the offense through Durant. And he is shooting 55.1 percent from the field, 46.2 percent from behind the 3-point line and averaging 37.5 points against the Rockets. Efficient.
The rest of the Warriors are shooting 46.6 percent from the field and 32 percent on 3s. Durant isn’t making them better. He has one assist and six turnovers in two games. He’s turning the Warriors offense into the Rockets offense in Game 1 — four players watching one player do all the work.