Green proves Warriors' defence still formidable

OAKLAND (California) • The Golden State Warriors did not have Andrew Bogut around to duel with Atlanta Hawks big man Dwight Howard on Monday. Just undersized Draymond Green. Turns out, that was good enough.

Andre Iguodala powered a key run early in the fourth quarter that gave Golden State the lead, and Green denied Atlanta with two late blocks, helping the Warriors beat the Hawks 105-100 for their 12th straight National Basketball Association league win.

Howard had 14 points and 16 rebounds but, when it came to defence, no one stood taller than Green.

"The world says we traded our defence away when we got KD (Kevin Durant)," Green said of deals such as sending the defensive-minded Bogut to the Dallas Mavericks over the summer. "I disagree. That (bothers) me. I take that personally."

The Hawks took an 81-80 lead into the final period but they never led again after Durant hit a jumper on Golden State's first possession of the decisive quarter.

Iguodala dropped in two interior baskets and Shaun Livingston converted a fast break into a lay-up, completing the 8-0 run that produced an 88-81 lead.

"It felt like the game kind of flipped there," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said.

The Hawks (10-8) had their chances. They got within 88-85 on a lay-up by Kent Bazemore with 8min 15sec left, and then had two opportunities to tie on three-point attempts by Dennis Schroder and Bazemore. Both missed.

The Golden State lead was just 91-89 two minutes later when Bazemore again went for the lead from three-point range. Again, he was off the mark. The Warriors (16-2) scored the next six points, four by Durant, and held out thanks in large part to Green.

He fashioned a four-point, seven-assist, four-block performance two days after sitting out a game with a sore ankle.

First, Green rejected Schroder on a drive to the hoop with 43.4 seconds left and the Warriors clinging to a 104-100 lead. Then, he did the same to Bazemore near the rim, this one with 15.8 seconds left and Golden State still up by just four.

"That was amazing," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of Green's late performance. "I don't know if I've ever seen a sequence like that from one guy. Just an incredible defensive sequence."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2016, with the headline 'Green proves Warriors' defence still formidable'. Print Edition | Subscribe