TORONTO — Draymond Green had played like a ball of fire entering the NBA Finals, taking advantage of Kevin Durant’s absence by having the ball in his hands more and pushing the pace for the Warriors.
While Green’s numbers are mostly solid, he has been sloppy (20 turnovers) and has not made enough of an impact in The Finals on either end.
Toronto’s three bruising forwards — Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka — have been more effective. Green absolutely disappeared in the second half of Friday’s 105-92 Game 4 defeat in what may have been Oracle Arena’s swan song.
Green, one of the NBA’s most prideful players, will need to be a raging, trash-talking bull Monday in Game 5 in Toronto or Canadians will be spraying more than just their strong beer.
The Warriors are looking to become just the second team to recover from a 3-1 NBA Finals deficit. Green wants to reverse the memory of the Warriors being victims of a 3-1 Finals lead when they coughed it up to the Cavaliers in 2016.
“That’s important to have that pride, to have the faith in what we’re capable of,’’ Green said after Friday’s loss. “We got to win one game. We win one, then we’ll build on that. But I’ve been on the wrong side of 3-1 before, so why not make our own history.”
Green posted a near triple-double Friday with 10 points, nine rebounds and 12 assists, and he was a ferocious factor on defense in the first half before he ran out of steam. If Durant doesn’t return Monday, Green will need to score more and turn the ball over less. Green committed five more turnovers Friday — which is his average in the four games.
The X-factor has been the Raptors’ Ibaka, who made 9-of-12 shots and doubled Green’s scoring total with 20 points.
“We kind of messed up our coverages a little bit on him, but you got to give him credit,’’ Green said. “He knocked some shots down. Seems like every game it’s somebody else for them.’’
Green has been the fiery leader on five straight Finals teams. With Golden State’s modest bench not producing, head coach Steve Kerr needs 48 minutes of Green’s ferociousness or Drake is going to be partying like it’s 1999.
“You got to win three games in a row,’’ Green said. “We have won three games in a row before. But [I’ll] just talk to the guys, don’t read the press clippings, don’t watch the TV, like just believe what we believe and give it what we got. And if we fail, you live with the results, but just leave it all out there.”