Why Kerr defends decision to bench Draymond late in Finals Game 4 originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The NBA Finals weren’t exactly a walk in the park for Draymond Green.
He struggled on and off throughout the series and was on the receiving end of some pretty passionate heckling from Boston Celtics fans.
Late in the fourth quarter of Game 4, Warriors coach Steve Kerr pulled a struggling Green from the game, a controversial move that Draymond wasn’t thrilled about, but ultimately understood. After Golden State won its fourth championship in eight seasons and celebrated with a parade down Market Street in San Francisco, Kerr joined Andre Iguodala and co-host Evan Turner on the “Point Forward Podcast,” where he defended the move.
“I’ve been here now eight years so I know all these guys so well,” Kerr said. “I didn’t really think much about it when I took Draymond out in Game 4, because that unit was not doing well so I was really looking for a shift. And I was thinking I would just take him out for a minute or two and then get him back.
“In the NBA if you find a group that works, then you stick with it and it doesn’t matter who is on the floor. You can’t worry about anybody’s feelings being hurt or anything like that. So when that group started to play well, I wasn’t paying any attention to the bench, but Andre, you were there and I’ve heard since that you were there talking to Draymond and I’m sure he was staying ready. Sure enough, when the run ended and we went back to him, he was great and made huge plays down the stretch and it all worked out.”
When Green and the Warriors first appeared in front of the rowdy Boston crowd for Game 3 at TD Garden, the Celtics fans rained down NSFW chants directed at Draymond, which Kerr believes crossed a line, specifically with children in attendance.
“I thought they crossed the line,” Kerr added. “I’m all for booing guys, cheering for your own team. The appropriate cheer — if you want to go down that path — is ‘so and so sucks, so and so sucks.’ … when they were saying ‘F you Draymond,’ 20,000 people, I thought of Draymond’s kid too.
“Like DJ, five years old, sweet kid, like the nicest kid … this sweet and innocent little guy and he’s gotta sit there and watch as his dad gets cussed out by 20,000 drunk fans. People don’t think of it in those terms when you’re watching from the outside. I do think it rattled Draymond a little bit because that’s pretty extreme.”
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It wasn’t an easy series for Draymond by any means, but ultimately, another ring will be placed on one of his fingers and that’s all that matters.
The rivalry almost certainly will continue when the Warriors travel back to Boston at some point during the 2022-23 season.
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