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Voisin: There is nobody like Draymond Green

OAKLAND — Draymond Green has been the Warriors’ renaissance man for a while now, so none of this is a surprise. He is the guts of the defense, the soul of the offense, the heart of the team, and when the Warriors need a little kick in the behind – as they did entering Game 3 against the Houston  Rockets — he provides that, too.
There really is no one quite like him.
“His ability to impact a game in so many ways,” Steve Kerr said after the Warriors cruised to a 126-85 victory Sunday night. “Defensively, getting out on (James) Harden and (Chris) Paul and switching, and rebounding, and staying on (Clint) Capela’s legs, and trying to knock the ball away on the lobs and protect the rim without fouling. I thought his performance tonight was unreal.”
Anything else?
The stats were damn impressive. Green led both teams with 17 rebounds, passed for six assists, and except for sharing a double technical with Trevor Ariza in the fourth quarter, was a calm, cool choreographer on both ends. After his chalk-talk comments after the Warriors miserable effort in Game 2, he might add another characteristic to his already ample portfolio: Prognosticator.
“I think we’re allowed one of those a series,” he said. “We’ve had our one, and now it’s time to lock in for the rest of the series.
It took Green and his teammates a few minutes to warm to the task, and an early timeout by Kerr before the Warriors resumed their role as the league’s best passing team, the most formidable defensive unit, and the most aesthetically appealing product. Perhaps they forgot for a few minutes that they were back in Oracle, where they had won their previous 15 home playoff games.
In those opening minutes, the lane resembled an uncongested Interstate 880 at 3 a.m. Harden and Eric Gordon set Capela up for uncontested dunks, Ariza twice attacked the rim without any resistance, Gordon drove for a layup, drilled a three-pointer, and gave the Rockets a 22-20 lead on a three-point play.
“We were just messing up our coverages on the ball,” Green said as he walked toward the locker room. “Once we got our coverages straight, those easy buckets were taken away.”
And just like that, with a tweak here, a tweak there, the Rockets and their high-powered offense began to sputter miserably and permanently. Harden airballed a three, Gordon dribbled into a 24-second violation and committed a sideline violation. Andre Iguodala answered quickly with a resounding putback of his missed 10-footer, and the Warriors were off and running, and rebounding and denying, and thoroughly frustrating their opponents, particularly their two superstars.
Paul had three points at halftime, finished with 13, and didn’t make a three until the third quarter. Harden had his opportunities at the rim, but repeatedly missed, either because he felt the Warriors’ presence or because he feared it. Harden contributed a feeble 20 points and a few temper flareups. And unlike the previous game, none of the Rockets enjoyed wide open looks from beyond the arc, as the Warriors played the role of five men on a string, switching, rotating, calling out screens, competing forcefully throughout.
In the middle of all this, of course, was Green swooping in for rebounds, triggering fastbreaks, making plays for teammates, barking out directions. He talks a good game, too.
“When you have a guy whose eyes are surveying the floor, knowing where our advantages are, it’s always a confidence builder,” said Stephen Curry, who broke out for 35 points, 26 after halftime. “When you’re guarding the ball, it might seem like you’re on an island. But if you hear somebody’s voice behind you, like ‘I’m here, I’m there. Send them left, send them right’ — whatever the case is, you’ve got to be ready for that possession a little bit more. Then when you hear silence, it’s like I don’t know what to do.”
What Kerr neglected to mention about Green is that not only is he unique, but he also is uniquely configured. He is 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds, and yet somehow dominates with his intellect, his power, his versatility, and often, his emotion. He is the eye of the storm, and on nights like Sunday night, he leads the Warriors back where they want to be – up 2-1 in this best-of-seven Western Conference finals, with Game 4 Tuesday night.
“We got stops,” Green added. “Getting the ball off the rim and able to push the ball is much different than trying to take the ball out every play. You look at Game 2, we were taking the ball out a lot (of the net), and got nothing in transition. When we get beat up pretty good, we kind of had that appropriate fear we always speak of, and we played better. So now the way to protect that is to come out in Game 4, guns blazing, and trying to take care of business.”
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