Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson (11) shakes hands with teammates Draymond Green (23) and Kevin Durant during the second half in Game 1 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz, in Oakland, Calif. The Warriors won 106-94. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
By Janie McCauley, Associated Press
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Draymond Green just doesn’t see the logic: How could three straight NBA Finals between Golden State and Cleveland possibly be boring?
Even if the NBA’s top two teams have steamrolled their way right to the place everybody figured they’d be when the season started all those months ago.
Green said people should appreciate the talent and the level of these teams, before it’s no longer.
“I think it’s a great thing for the league, contrary to popular belief where everyone says it’s boring,” Green said Friday (Saturday, PHL time). “I think maybe people just fail to realize that you just have two great teams and don’t appreciate that. Everyone wants to say, ‘Ah, man, this is boring’ and this that and the other, but you usually don’t appreciate something until you don’t have it anymore. And so, I think maybe there’s just a lack of appreciation for greatness. But then when you look at a situation, most people have never reached greatness. So maybe there’s just not an understanding of what you’re watching. I think you’ve found two great teams. We’ve played that way, and maybe people don’t appreciate it because of a blowout or because of a sweep.
“But people may want to be careful, because I think right now you’re witnessing greatness.”
LeBron James called the Warriors a “juggernaut,” and Green said “there’s always a mutual respect.”
It was Green who was suspended for game five of last year’s Finals for a swipe at James’ groin — and Golden State wound up squandering a 3-1 series lead and chance at a repeat title.
Warriors owner Joe Lacob said publicly he wanted another chance at the Cavs because of unfinished business from 2016.
“It was taken, they took it,” Green said. “We want to go take back a championship, that’s just the nature of a competitor and I think that’s the mindset of everyone in this organization to go take back what they took from us.”
Now, the Warriors are 12-0 this postseason, well-rested and riding the momentum of three straight sweeps, against Portland, Utah and San Antonio. The story lines are plenty, including a few fresh ones, such as acting Golden State coach Mike Brown going against the team he coached not once but twice.
“It’s one of those things I have no control over, it is what it is,” said Brown, filling in for the ailing Steve Kerr. “Just kind of take it in stride.”
Golden State already is the first team to begin a postseason 12-0, and the Warriors would love to go unbeaten the entire way — as daunting of a challenge as it would be to do so against King James and Co.
“I hope it’s four. We’d love it if we could win in four games, that would be great,” Green said with a smile. “We don’t go into any series saying we’re only going to play four games, we can’t approach a series like that, like, ‘Yeah, we’re going to play four.’ You approach it with a mindset of, ‘Of course we’d love to sweep them but you have to take that game by game.’”
Green, for one, will appreciate all the hype around this series.
“This will be talked about long after us,” Green said. “Just to be a part of this is amazing, so really just embracing that.”
Notes: Center Zaza Pachulia, who missed games three and four at San Antonio in the Western Conference finals with a bruised right heel, is back going through full practices in preparation to play in his first career Finals. Golden State will practice again Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) then take Sunday (Monday, PHL time) as its last off day ahead of Thursday’s (Friday, PHL time) game one at Oracle Arena.
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