Draymond Green

Dray calls for more ‘pride' from Warriors' defense after loss to Grizz

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Draymond Green never has been one to be at a loss for words, which hasn’t always played out in his favor.

Not surprisingly, Green didn’t waste time mincing his thoughts following one of the Warriors’ most miserable losses of the season, a 116-107 road loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday at FedExForum.

The loss, Golden State’s fourth in five games, dropped the team to 18-22, the second time this season that the Warriors have been four games under .500.

The fact that the Grizzlies were without a large chunk of their starting rotation, including mercurial guard Ja Morant, made the loss sting even more.

Green, playing in his first game in a month after serving an NBA suspension, made no attempt to hide why it all went down. And it’s something that the Warriors’ coaches and fans have been harping on all season – defense.

“It starts off with having pride,” Green told reporters after the game. “You just have to have pride in yourself as a man that, ‘I’m not going to let my guy score.’ Our closeouts were too soft, our rotations were too slow. So it’s just no pride.

“Until every guy takes pride in themselves and want to stop the guy in front of them, we’ll suck.”

The Grizzlies’ 116 points were the fewest that the Warriors allowed in the last five games after giving up 133, 141, 131 and 129, respectively, against the Toronto Raptors, New Orleans Pelicans, Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks.

And although Golden State held the Grizzlies to a 37.2 shooting percentage – a relatively decent number for the defense – it was the way in which Memphis scored that was most frustrating.

The Grizzlies made 20 3-pointers, tied for their second-most this season, and repeatedly got open looks against Golden State’s defense.

“You can’t just give guys free looks because he may miss 30 in a row coming into playing against us, and when he plays against us he’s gonna hit 30 in a row,” Green said. “That’s what it comes with. Until we learn that lesson, teams are going to shoot the lights out and they’re going to play their best game of the year.”

As for Green’s offense, it was about what he could expect after sitting out 16 games. He came off the bench and made two of the four shots he attempted, including a game-opening 3-pointer, and had seven rebounds, four assists and one steal.

“Draymond played well, he played hard,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters. “It was good to have him back. Obviously as a team we didn’t play well, but Draymond competed and it was good to kind of get him back in the fold.”

Green played for only 23 1/2 minutes, which was to be expected as the four-time NBA All-Star works his way back into shape.

“Felt good,” Green said. “All things considered, felt really good.”

Green was in such a good mood just to be back that during one stop in play, he was caught on camera joking with one of the officials. That’s not something folks thought they would ever see, let alone from a guy fresh off his second suspension this season.

But the feel-good moments were few and far between, both for Green and the Warriors.

In recent weeks, Kerr has pointed to a lack of communication by the Warriors as a primary reason the team's defense has suffered.

Green, however, said it goes deeper than that.

“Communication is a part of it, but if you don’t take pride in one-on-one defense, communication doesn’t matter,” Green said.

That means each player taking a deeper look in the mirror to figure things out.

Despite the current state of the Warriors' defense, though, Green is of the belief that things can turn around.

“If we got guys that’ll take pride in themselves and play defense, one through 17 or however many guys we got, then it’s solvable,” Green said. “If guys won’t take pride in defense, it’s not. It’s very simple. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. You have to take pride in your 1-on-1 matchup. If you take pride in 1-on-1 defense, then the team defense will automatically get better.”

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