OAKLAND — All he wanted was one. All he needed was one. And when Draymond Green got one, he didn’t hesitate to shout about it.
Less than three minutes after tipoff between the Warriors and the Mavericks on Saturday, Green burned a soft Dallas defense with a 3-pointer from the left wing and quickly turned toward the visitors on the bench and let them know he was just getting started.
About four minutes later, still against soft defense, Green drilled another triple.
“The first time, their bench yelled, ‘Stay back.’ No, you’d better come up,” Green said after a 120-116 win at Oracle Arena. “On the second one, it was like, ‘Stay back.’ I said, ‘It’s going to be a long night for you, champ.’
“Teams are going to play me that way. And that’s fine. But I like it.”
Teams aren’t bothering to defend Green’s deep shooting because it hasn’t hurt them. He had missed nine of 10 3-point attempts over the previous four games. Since the end of October, he was 1-of-16 from beyond the arc. Why bother with defense?
The Utah Jazz played soft Wednesday night, practically daring Green to shoot 3-pointers. He shot two, missed both, and called it quits for the night.
Stung by the lack of attention and the effect it has on his teammates, Green vowed after the game that his 3-pointers would start falling. He spent much of Thursday and Friday working to back up his words.
“Gotta speak it into existence,” he said.
“It’s always good to see that first one go in. Your confidence kind of grows. I’ve just got to stay aggressive.”
Green scored eight points in the first quarter on 3-of-5 shooting, 2-of-3 from deep (his third attempt rattled around the rim and out). He finished with 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting, 2-of-4 from deep.
“Tonight was a step in the right direction for Draymond, as far as being aggressive,” Kevin Durant said. “Before, he would get it out at the 3-point line and he’s looking (to) pass, which is what we want him to do. But if you get five of those possessions in the first half, we want him to shoot a couple of those.”
“Tonight, to start the game he knocked them down and it got him going and barking at the other bench.”
Green entered the game shooting 18.9 percent from deep. His confidence was wavering. Opponents noticed and let him be, playing 5-on-4 against his teammates.
That will change once Green makes a few more.
“I told you before the game that I thought he would make some,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He’s just getting into shape, to be honest with you, since the injury. The last couple games, he had good energy and just needed to get over the hump conditioning-wise.
“Tonight he did a great job. That was a typical Draymond game. Anytime he knocks down a couple 3-pointers, to go along with everything else he does, it’s a good sign for us.”