OAKLAND – Draymond Green recognizes the haters, those hoping the Warriors would stumble in the NBA Finals.
You know, NBA analyst Charles Barkley and members of his club.
Asked if he realized that crowd is delighted with the Warriors being taken down by the Cavaliers, Green didn’t hesitate.
“Probably so,” he said Monday, one day after the Warriors lost Game 7 on their home court. “That’s fine, though. A lot of people wanted to see us lose. They got their wish.
“I don’t know if they’ll get it a lot more times, but they got it this time. It’s cool. It happens.”
The Warriors have heard for a full year now that their 2015 championship was somehow less than authentic. The voices of debate and even dissent have been there, mostly from the mouths of current and former players and coaches.
They didn’t play the Clippers. They didn’t play the Spurs. They were lucky in avoiding Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in The Finals.
It was this chatter that, in part, drove the Warriors to a 73-9 record, best in NBA history. Drove Stephen Curry to a second consecutive MVP award, this one unanimous. Drove Green to his first All-Star Game and a berth on the All-NBA team.
After taking a 3-1 lead over the fully healthy Cavaliers, the Warriors were on the verge of silencing the noise once and for all.
And then it was gone, Cleveland becoming the first team ever to overcome a 3-1 deficit in The Finals.
Which sends the Warriors, who were a minute away from repeating, into a summer of uncertainty if not doubt. They still believe in themselves, in each other, in the process that has served the franchise so well in recent years.
Moreover, they fully expect to be back next season, this time with a different response for the skeptics – and opponents that targeted them.
“They’ll still be gunning for us,” Green said. “That ain’t changing no time soon. But we’ll be gunning too.”