Draymond Green Drags the Warriors Back Into the Fight

Draymond Green Drags the Warriors Back Into the Fight

SAN FRANCISCO — There is a line. Draymond Green knows the line well at this stage of his career. Sometimes he uses his arms and elbows and vocal cords to push right up against the line. And there are other occasions when he enthusiastically tramples all over it.

How Green treats the line depends on the circumstances, but also on his mood. The line might help him focus his emotions today, then constrain him too much tomorrow. On Sunday, though, as he sought to lead the Golden State Warriors in Game 2 of the N.B.A. finals, he seemed to act as if the line did not even exist. And if he was to go over it? Well, Green was willing to take that risk.

We need that energy,” he said. “For me to sit back and say, ‘Oh, I’m going to push it to this edge and try to pull back,’ that don’t work. I’ve got to be me.”

We need that energy,” he said. “For me to sit back and say, ‘Oh, I’m going to push it to this edge and try to pull back,’ that don’t work. I’ve got to be me.”

Green being himself meant lunging for a steal before the game was 13 seconds old, forcing a jump ball with Al Horford of the Boston Celtics. Green being himself meant plowing to the basket for his first points and flexing his biceps. Green being himself meant getting called for a technical foul a few minutes later.

But it also meant playing relentless defense and throwing his weight around and urging his teammates to do the same: to be more assertive, more physical and more determined. By the end of the night, his body of work — however polarizing his behavior — helped clear the path for Golden State’s 107-88 victory, which tied the finals at a game apiece before Game 3 on Wednesday in Boston. “I think everybody played with more force,” Green said, adding, “It was across the board.”

Stephen Curry, who scored a game-high 29 points for the Warriors, said it was clear to him “about five minutes” after the team’s loss in Game 1 that Green would approach Game 2 with a different level of ferocity. Green finished with 9 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds in Game 2 but made an outsize impact.

“He knew what he needed to do,” Curry said. “I think we talk about how some of that stuff doesn’t always show up in the stat sheet in terms of points, rebounds, assists. But you feel him in his presence, and the other team feels his presence and his intensity, and that’s contagious for all of us.”

Green, of course, has been a staple of Golden State’s championship core since he joined the Warriors as a second-round draft pick in 2012. A tenacious defender and immensely skilled passer, he has already helped the team win three titles — and now, amid their renaissance, aspires for more.