Draymond Green is one of the most competitive players in the league. His leadership, attitude, and versatility have helped elevate the Warriors above the rest of the league, and he has a right to feel confident in his and his teammates ability to defeat nearly every opponent they face.
But his comments on Friday were full of pride, and woe be to the man who is found full of pride at the day of reckoning.
Draymond Green to KNBR: "When I look at our 7 losses, I look at 'em & say. 'ah, 3 teams really beat us.' I'd say Port, Detroit, the Lakers."— Diamond Leung (@diamond83) April 1, 2016
Draymond Green to KNBR "There's a little asterisk by Dallas, by Denver, with Milwaukee when we're coming off a trip-OT & getting in at 4am."— Diamond Leung (@diamond83) April 1, 2016
WIth Mr. Green seemingly out to disrespect the Nuggets and their January win over the Warriors, due to his absence from the game, here's a reminder of how the Nuggets four games against the Warriors went this season.
November 6, 2015
The Warriors early-season victory over the Nuggets was their seventh-straight to start the season. A 3-pointer from Jameer Nelson closed the lead to 10 points after the Nuggets had faced a 32-point deficit earlier in the game, but time ran out on the comeback. Steph Curry scored 34 points and had 10 assists, and Festus Ezeli played well in a start for Andrew Bogut. The Warriors big man had a dominant stretch that helped seal the game, but the Nuggets didn't quit, and showed fight against the defending champs.
November 22, 2015
A mere two weeks later, the Warriors came to Denver with a perfect start to their season. Fourteen straight wins, and after a 34-point first quarter that vaulted them to an 11 point lead, the Warriors would leave Denver with 15 wins in a row on their way to a 24-0 start. J.J. Hickson, Kostas Papanikolaou, and Randy Foye combined for 2 points in 26 combined minutes. Emmanuel Mudiay went 6 for 21 from the floor, another game where he showed the inexperience and poor shooting that was all too common in the beginning of the season.
January 2, 2016
The Nuggets have routinely have had one bad quarter in a game the entire season, and this night, it was the first quarter. The Warriors outscored the Nuggets 37-13 in the first twelve minutes, and the fans in Oracle could have been expected to check out for the rest of the game. Steph Curry was limited that night, having missed time with a leg injury, and re-aggravated that injury during the game and didn't play the second half. Green picked up the slack and finished with an absurd 29 point, 17 rebound, 14 assist night. Will Barton was huge for the Nuggets, with a clutch basket to send the game to overtime, but the Nuggets couldn't pull off a win in the extra period.
(Video courtesy of An Nguyen)
January 13, 2016
This was a game Michael Malone really wanted to win - and the Nuggets responded with their best performance of the season. Jameer Nelson started at point as Mudiay worked his way back from injury (Mudiay was active, and played 17 minutes), finishing with nine assists in the game. No one was better for Denver than Danilo Gallinari, who attempted an absurd 19 free throws on his way to 28 points for the game. Darrell Arthur and Will Barton were money off the bench, combining for 39 points that were key to the Nuggets having a large enough lead to stave off a Curry explosion - no more evident than this shot from the mountains in the fourth quarter, when the MVP scored 20 points.
I mean, nothing but respect for a player that can do that.
But in the end, Denver's best player stepped up to the challenge, taking the assignment to guard Curry on the final possession, stealing the ball and creating an opportunity for Gary Harris to seal the win with two free throws.
"Gallo has proven this year he can guard most players on the floor," Malone said after the game. "And he did a great job. He got into a stance, forced a deflection, was first to the floor and comes out with the loose ball. Those are winning plays. Those are what separate teams, and we had enough winning plays tonight where we were able to withstand the furious comeback that they made."
The Warriors had a chance to win the game on the final possession, but the Nuggets defense forced Klay Thompson into a missed jumper and the Nuggets handed the Warriors their third loss on the season.
In nearly every game this season, the Nuggets fought, scratched, and clawed for 48 minutes against the Warriors. Only eight teams can claim to have bested the Warriors so far this season, and the Nuggets deserve to be included in that list. They lost three times to the Warriors, but a lot of teams won't be able to look back at this season and say that they were victorious over the likely NBA champions.
The Warriors are historically great. Draymond Green is a strong candidate for an All-NBA team at the end of the season. But saying that the Warriors loss to the Nuggets deserves an asterisk is a statement that crosses the line that separates confidence from pride, and is an incorrect statement.
Too bad the Nuggets and Warriors won't play again this season - I reckon the Nuggets players will be eager for the next time they have to play the Warriors in another asterisk game.