With reigning NBA MVP and presumed 2015-2016 MVP Steph Curry out, the Golden State Warriors haven’t missed a beat. Tuesday, the Warriors continued their domination with an 110-99 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers to take a 2-0 series lead.
The W didn’t come easy for Golden State; however, behind Klay Thompson’s 27 points and Draymond Green’s 17 points and 14 rebounds, the Warriors were able to overcome a 17-point deficit to take a commanding lead into Portland where they expect Steph to be ready to go by Game 4.
Of course, despite the success, Klay Thompson remains as underrated as Chris Bosh. At least Draymond gets some recognition for his collection of triple-doubles.
Klay has always been seen as Steph’s little brother on the team; however, with big bro on the sideline, Thompson has averaged 26 points, four rebounds, and nearly four assists per game over the course of the postseason. The ball has also found itself in Thompson’s hands more often with Curry off the court.
“A lot of people say he’s the best two-way shooting guard in the league,” said Draymond after Tuesday’s victory. “I say he’s the best shooting guard in the league, period.”
Not sure if I would take it that far. James Harden has held that designation for a while now, despite his lackluster performances on defense. While Thompson is fantastic at opening things up for the other four players on the court, he wouldn’t come close to a playoff appearance if he was thrown in charge of the Houston Rockets. Harden also boasts the fifth-most assists in the league this season.
Either way, the man handing out compliments to his teammate is equally underappreciated. While Steph gets the glory for the Warriors record-setting 73-9 season, it couldn’t have happened without Green (or Thompson for that matter).
“Draymond is huge for us,” said Warriors center Andrew Bogut after the team’s Game 1 victory over the Blazers Sunday. “His playmaking ability, his defensive ability. He’s probably the best all-around player in the league at this point.”
Hm. Well, I’m sure LeBron James and Anthony Davis would disagree with that sentiment. And if we’re basing this off the number of triple-doubles a player has, Russell Westbrook would be furious.
Green, instead of getting caught up in the controversy, likes to let his teammates do the bragging for him—and who is he to disagree?
“I think there’s a lot of great all-around players in the game,” said Green. “You’ll never hear me call myself that, but they are going to call me that, I’ll take it. I’m not going to shy away from it. I didn’t come out here and say I need to get a triple-double. I came out saying I need to do whatever it takes to help our team get a win and tonight that was a little bit of everything.”
Draymond’s triple-double in Game 1 was his first of the playoffs, but knowing him, we’ll see a few more this year.
Green tied Harden for the fifth most assists in the NBA this season, averaged nearly ten rebounds per game, and cemented his place as one of the top defensive players in the league. Who knew a man with a career average of 8.7 points per game would ever be in the discussion of superstars.
With Steph coming back, the Warriors shouldn’t have much trouble finishing off the Blazers, leaving only the San Antonio Spurs in the way of back-to-back NBA Finals trips. Maybe another ring will earn Green and Thompson a little more recognition.