Draymond Green accidentally elbowed Anthony Davis in the face while defending the Pelicans star. As they continued to jostle for position, Green said something to Davis – sorry, according to ESPN’s Jon Barry.
Green ought to apologize.
His Warriors eliminated Davis – the NBA’s preeminent rising star – in just four games, culminating with a 109-98 win over New Orleans on Saturday.
Davis averaged 31.5 points, 10.8 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game in his first playoff series, including 36, 11 and 3 in Game 4. He was objectively awesome, but there were too many moments he struggled to adapt to postseason basketball, the need to sustain full focus and energy for longer stretches. This was a learning experience, and everything about Davis’ trajectory suggests we’ll get many more opportunities to enjoy watching him this time of year.
The Warriors, on the other hand, are primed for this moment. They won a series as the higher seed for the first time since 1977, and they’ll rest for another such series against the Grizzlies or Trail Blazers, who play Game 3 tonight. This was Golden State’s first sweep since the 1975 NBA Finals.
Green, who led a strong defensive effort against Davis, had his flashiest game of the series Saturday with 22 points, 10 rebounds an eight assists. Add Stephen Curry (39 points, nine assists and eight rebounds) and Klay Thompson (25 points), and the Warriors looked dominant.
Golden State led by as many as 24, but to their credit, the Pelicans cut 17 points from that deficit. After a devastating Game 3 loss, nobody would have been surprised to see New Orleans throw in the towel.
Davis and the Pelicans proved they don’t do that. They just lack the firepower to compete with the league’s best team, hardly an unforgivable sin – but a decisive flaw in this series.
With Davis still improving, that could change as soon as next year.
For the Warriors, though, the time is now, and they sure look ready.