BOSTON — Draymond Green said he wasn’t “thrilled” when Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr retired him Friday night with less than eight minutes left in the fourth quarter of Game 4 in Boston.
While Green made two big plays on crucial possession with just over a minute to play to help the Warriors to a 107-97 victory on the night, he had to tackle sitting out for nearly four minutes in the thickness of the fourth quarter before being substituted several times for the defense of the situation.
“I’m certainly never happy to come out of the game with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter in a game to win,” Green said. “I’m not going to sit here and act like I’m thrilled. I’m a competitor.
“But if that’s what the coach decides, then you roll with it. I had to keep my head in the game and every time I came back try to make plays. It was just my mindset.”
Green’s offensive struggles in the Finals continued as he missed six of seven shots before finishing with 2 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 steals in 32 minutes.
With the Celtics leading 90-86 with 7:32 remaining, Kerr replaced Kevon Looney (11 rebounds and six points) and Andrew Wiggins (17 points and 16 rebounds) for Green and Nemanja Bjelica.
After Marcus Smart made a free throw out of that timeout to increase the lead to five, the Warriors beat Boston 11-3 to take a 97-94 lead with Green out.
“We took it out and put Loon on around 7:40 or so, which was our plan, anyway,” Kerr explained. “But Loon was playing so well and Jordan Poole was playing so well, so we stayed with the group.”
Said Green didn’t look happy to sit down, Kerr said he didn’t see Green’s reaction but never wanted his players to be happy to be knocked out.
Green is shooting 6 for 26, including 0 for 9 3-pointers, and scored a total of 17 points with 18 fouls in the final. He averaged 7.2 rebounds and 5.7 assists.
“He’s the ultimate competitor,” Kerr said. “He came back. He made huge plays down the stretch. He finished a game with 4 steals, 8 assists, 9 boards.
“Look, it’s a tough series for him because of Boston’s size and athleticism, but he still has a huge impact on the game. And he knows we’re going to do whatever it takes to win. .”
After a few situational substitutions by Kerr with Green and Poole, Green made his biggest plays of the night, grabbing an offensive rebound off a missed 3-point Klay Thompson, then later driving and distributing to Looney for a lay-up that went down. pushed the Warriors to 102-97 with 1:04 remaining.
Still, seeing Green sit out late in a must-win Finals match was a rare sight.
“There’s so much confidence in the way we do things,” said Stephen Curry, who had 43 points and 10 rebounds. “And the decisions that the coach makes and the responsibility is on us as players; that Loon got in there, dominated the paint, gave us big rebounds, created a presence. Draymond came back and had juice and life on the defensive.
“We obviously understand that it’s just about winning. … We’ve all been on the side where it’s not going top to bottom. It’s not fun. It’s not something you accept easily , but you understand the big picture, and obviously especially when it pays off, so it’s more about trusting Loon and what he’s capable of than any similar situation with Draymond.
With the Finals tied 2-2 and the Warriors looking to turn the series in their favor at home in Game 5, Kerr said he would do “whatever it takes” to win.
“I’ve always been in the line of saying if you got something and it rolls, you stick with it,” Green said. “So it is what it is.”