Green won’t miss this Fi­nals Game 5

For­ward sus­pended last year

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY JANIE MCCAULEY

OAKLAND, CALIF. | A year ago for Game 5 of the NBA Fi­nals, Golden State gen­eral man­ager Bob My­ers sat along­side sus­pended for­ward Dray­mond Green next-door to Or­a­cle Arena in a suite at the Oakland Athletics game.

My­ers told Green: Let’s not do this again.

On Mon­day night, the War­riors will try again to close out their sec­ond cham­pi­onship in three years with the fiery Green on the court to start Game 5 this time. They are up 3-1 in the best-of-seven se­ries – again. LeBron James and Cleve­land, look­ing down and out only days ago in an 0-3 hole, now have some mo­men­tum af­ter win­ning Game 4 and they will try to stave off elim­i­na­tion

once more.

“We won three games in a row in the Fi­nals and 15 in a row over­all in the play­offs, you just think it’s go­ing to hap­pen,” Green said Sun­day. “And then all of a sud­den you get slapped in the face. It’s like, ‘Whoa.’ You re­mem­ber what can be, what can hap­pen.”

Golden State would rather for­get that mon­u­men­tal col­lapse last year, when Green’s ab­sence for Game 5 be­cause of fla­grant foul point ac­cu­mu­la­tion helped swing the se­ries.

He took a swipe at James’ groin in Game 4 af­ter the Cava­liers su­per­star stepped over him.

My­ers chose to stay with Green as he sat out that game last June.

“When we were there last year I think I looked at him and said: ‘Let’s just never do this again. Let’s make sure you’re play­ing and I get to watch. This doesn’t feel right, let’s avoid this, move for­ward,”’ My­ers re­called. “What­ever he’s do­ing, he should keep do­ing it. And look, he hasn’t lost any of the in­ten­sity and he hasn’t lost his edge. That’s the hard­est chal­lenge, when you have that type of emo­tions, to chan­nel it. And he’s re­ally been able to do that. Like I said, I think be­cause of ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Green said his sus­pen­sion con­ver­sa­tion with My­ers is a mo­ment “I re­mem­ber like it was yes­ter­day, I’ll never for­get it.”

If the War­riors can close out the tough-to-elim­i­nate Cavs on Mon­day, they would be­come the first Bay Area team to cap­ture a cham­pi­onship at home since the A’s fin­ished the Los An­ge­les Dodgers in Game 5 of the 1974 World Se­ries.

James, Kyrie Irv­ing and Kevin Love know they aren’t out of this yet – af­ter all, they came back from a daunt­ing deficit a year ago on the way to the city’s first ma­jor team sports ti­tle in 52 years.

Sure, it will be a tall task in Oakland with a mo­ti­vated Kevin Du­rant try­ing to cap­ture his first ca­reer ti­tle and play­ing like a pos­si­ble Fi­nals MVP.

“We know that cham­pi­ons don’t die. They don’t just lay down and die,” Du­rant said.

The Cavs showed what they’re ca­pa­ble of do­ing when ev­ery­thing clicks on both ends, scor­ing a record 86 points in the first half of Fri­day’s 137-116 win to ex­tend the se­ries and post­pone any War­riors plans for a vic­tory pa­rade.

But that was in Cleve­land.

“We have to be 20 times bet­ter in this build­ing,” said James, who has won at least one road game in 29 straight post­sea­son se­ries.


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