Once again on the precipice of greatness, the Golden State Warriors look to close out the NBA Finals with a Game 6 win over Boston.
But Draymond Green apparently doesn’t see the 2022 Finals against Boston as fierce as previous challenges, such as defeating LeBron James in the NBA Finals. Green opened about the mental hurdles it takes to defeat James per the Athletic:
“It doesn’t compare to mentally playing against LeBron James, who I think is arguably the smartest guy to ever play this game,” Green said. “Not one of; he is arguably the smartest guy to set foot on a basketball court. To say that it compares to that, it’s disrespectful to LeBron, and it’s a lie to you.”
Green, a three-time champion with the Warriors, had to defeat the four-time Finals MVP in three of his five NBA Finals appearances to secure his rings. Green’s first Finals loss came from the infamous 2016 Finals, where Golden State blew a 3-1 lead, and the second loss came against Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 NBA Finals.
The Warriors and the James-led Lakers have also met in the 2021 play-in tournament for the seventh seed in the Western Conference playoffs. James ultimately led the Lakers to a win after hitting a clutch fadeaway three to secure the Lakers’ date with the Suns in the first-round of the playoffs.
Green did acknowledge that Boston is challenging in their own way, per Yahoo Sports:
“Now, in saying that, they do have a guy over there in Marcus Smart who is extremely smart, who it’s like a chess match going up against him. He is kind of the brain of that team. I think every team you kind of have that guy,” That’s the brain of that team, and they have that in Marcus Smart, a guy who I have a tremendous amount of respect for and his basketball IQ. So it’s a challenge for sure. Ime [Udoka, Celtics coach] is extremely smart. We know his pedigree.”
Green and the Warriors will look to wrap things up in Thursday’s Game Six in Beantown. If Boston wins Game 6, the series will shift to San Francisco for a win-or-go-home Game 7 in Chase Center.