Draymond Green

Draymond credits unlikely reason for Warriors' resurgence

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Following the Warriors' fifth consecutive win Monday night, Draymond Green was quick to credit Golden State's resurgence to an unlikely source: His indefinite suspension, which stretched from December into January.

Speaking to reporters in the aftermath of the Warriors' 129-107 victory over the Utah Jazz at Delta Center, Green explained that being away from the team while he served what turned out to be a 12-game suspension (16 missed games) for striking Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkić on Dec. 12 allowed Golden State to experiment with different lineups, leading to the breakout of young stars like Jonathan Kuminga.

“Honestly, I think me getting suspended helped in a weird way because No. 1, since I got suspended, JK has taken off and that has kind of set the stage for this team,” Green said. “Bona fide No. 2 option on our team and so now you’re able to figure out different things, we can go to our offense, it doesn’t look how it used to look, we got different things that we’re going to. You were able to find different combinations that worked, and it’s been plug and play since then, figuring the pieces out.

“So, not that I wanted to get suspended or anything like that but I do think it kind of helped us find different things that we can go to an explore and now you add me back into the fray, you add [Gary Payton II] back from his injury, [Chris Paul] will be coming back and now you’ve got those pieces coming back that you know you can rely on."

The Warriors have welcomed back Green and Payton II to the lineup in recent weeks, and still are awaiting the return of Paul, who slowly is working his way back from a fractured left hand.

With Steph Curry continuing to lead the way with his unreal shot-making ability, the emergence of Kuminga as a consistent scoring threat for Golden State has helped turn the team around, reeling off five wins in a row and winning the past seven of eight games to move into 10th place in the Western Conference standings, 1.5 games ahead of the Jazz.

There still is plenty of work left to be done to close the gap on the top teams in the Western Conference as the Warriors are four games back of the Phoenix Suns, who currently hold the No. 6 seed. But given Golden State's track record, they can never be counted out.

Things will not get any easier for the Warriors though, as they are in the midst of a critical stretch of games before the All-Star break, including a big-time showdown with the surging Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night at the Chase Center.

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