The Warriors bounced back in Game 2 to level the series against the Lakers with a 127-100 win at Chase Center.
After Anthony Davis' historic Game 1 performance, the Warriors were locked in on shutting down the Lakers' big man. With Kevon Looney battling an illness heading into Game 2, Draymond Green started the game at center with JaMychael Green sliding into the starting lineup at power forward.
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The small-ball Warriors unit did just the trick, picking up the pace in Game 2 with increased floor spacing and shooting. More importantly, it left Green with the assignment of guarding Davis, who terrorized the Warriors in Game 1 with a monster 30-point, 23-rebound game.
It was a different story in Game 2 as Davis was held quiet, recording just 11 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and three blocks on 5-of-11 from the field.
He had several Warriors players crowding him at every turn, but it all started with Green, who turned in a stifling defensive performance. He marshaled the Warriors' defenders with his trademark vocal, aggressive style — something he made a point of following the Game 1 loss.
"I played like s–t," he said on The Draymond Green Show. "I am disgusted with myself right now."
Following Game 2, Lakers head coach Darvin Ham credited Green with changing the tone of the contest, highlighting his defense on Davis.
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"There's a reason why he's a perennial All-Defensive player," Ham said postgame.
"He's going to force tough catches when he's on the ball, his on-ball activity is second to none and he's a good communicator.
"Whether he has to switch or talk his guy through the scenario, he's been top-shelf his entire career in that regard. So, again, we gotta go back, look at ways we can move 'A' around, put him in different spacing, different actions and just try to diversify his attack."
When guarded by Green, Davis shot just 1-of-7 from the field, had two turnovers, and was a -16 in plus/minus.
Green did a stellar job keeping Davis away from the rim and forcing him out of his spots, as evidenced by Davis' free throw disparity. In Game 1, he went 8-for-8 at the line, while tonight, he attempted just one free throw.
As The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor noted, the difference in Green's impact between Game 1 and 2 was clear to see.
Draymond Green went from defending Anthony Davis for 34% of plays in Game 1 to 62% of plays in Game 2.— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) May 5, 2023
Warriors Defensive Matchups Vs AD
Kevon Looney: 45
Draymond Green: 27
All others: 8
Draymond Green: 39
Kevon Looney: 15
All others: 9
Stats via @SecondSpectrum pic.twitter.com/uQl1DhNslo
Green followed up on his comments after Game 1, telling reporters his goal was "just to be aggressive on both ends of the floor."
"After last game, I never want to feel like that leaving a game again," Green said postgame. "I was disgusted with my performance as if I didn't know how to play on both ends.
"I knew that I would have to come out and have a good game in order for us to win. Obviously, we were able to win pretty handily [but I] just knew I had to come out and be aggressive on both sides of the ball and be decisive.
"I thought Game 1, I was very indecisive on both ends and I just wanted to change that tonight."
The series now shifts to Los Angeles for Games 3 and 4, with Game 3 set for Saturday, May 6 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC.