Golden State Warriors

Warriors show mettle in win vs. Pacers; Draymond Green says he knew Golden State could be ‘great’ on defense in 2021

It took a bloody nose from guard Stephen Curry, a late hit to the head of G Kelly Oubre Jr. and more, but the Warriors won a defensive battle against the Pacers on Wednesday night, 111-107, to close their road trip with a 2-2 record.

Six Warriors scored in double figures and Golden State out-rebounded and out-hustled Indiana, which was necessary with Curry hitting only one 3-pointer and the team making just five overall from distance, a low mark in a win during the era of coach Steve Kerr.

Forward Draymond Green held the team together, determined to make amends for his miscue in Charlotte earlier in the road trip. After a low-scoring battle in which the Warriors won the rebounding battle, Green said he had a good feeling early on about the team’s ability to win these kinds of games, per Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle. Note Green’s stats, too.

“Coming into this year, I knew this team had the potential to be a great defensive team,” said forward Draymond Green, who finished with 12 points on 4-for-5 shooting, 11 assists, nine rebounds and three steals. “You always give yourself a chance if you are, and I think that showed tonight.”

Coach Steve Kerr had the same idea, mostly because of Green, the former NBA Defensive Player of the Year, and new wings Andrew Wiggins and Oubre, who all have enormous wingspans, as do most players on the Warriors. The team started slow on defense but now own a top-five defensive rating.

And Curry can hold his own within the team structure on defense, and he’s tough, too. Here he is getting cracked on the nose, leaving him with a bloody schnoz.

Ouch. That was in the second quarter. Curry went on to lead the Warriors with 24 points, despite hitting 1-11 from 3-point range. He was effective inside the arch and hit 9-of-10 free throws.

Here’s Oubre getting cracked as the Pacers were desperate for a hoop late in the game. Oubre was down for nearly a minute but appeared to be okay.

That had to hurt. Right in the temple. He showed real toughness to get up from that. Oubre has been on fire lately, and once again scored in double figures with 17 points. Others to score in double digits for Golden State were Andrew Wiggins, reserves Eric Paschall and James Wiseman along with Green and Curry.

This win was worth the tough, team effort, making up for blowing forth-quarter leads to the Magic and Hornets to start the trip. Now the team can fly back to San Francisco with a 2-2 effort on the road and try to win their third straight game on Friday night against those same Hornets. As long as they bring their defense, they’ll have a great shot, especially if Curry starts to be himself from 3-point range.

(Photo credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)

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