Warriors' Draymond Green credits Tom Izzo for resurgent game vs. Lakers: 'That presence means a ton to me'
Draymond Green had no shortage of motivation for his stellar Game 5 performance for the Lakers on Wednesday, which staved off elimination for at least another game for the Warriors.
Green was coming off back-to-back subpar performances against Los Angeles, both of which resulted in losses for Golden State. That all changed in Game 5 on Wednesday, as Green scored 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting. He added 10 rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block in the dominant 121-106 victory.
While the threat of elimination was certainly a motivating factor, it was something else — or someone — who helped elevate Green's game: his former college coach, Tom Izzo.
"He texted me yesterday," Green told NBC Sports Bay Area after Wednesday's game. "Said, 'I’ll be out there tomorrow.' And he texted me this morning and said, ‘Alright, goddamnit, I’m here.' I was like, 'Alright, let’s go.'"
MORE: How LeBron James' genius predicted Green turnover to clinch Game 4
Video showed the Michigan State coach in attendance at the Chase Center for Wednesday's pivotal Game 5. Cameras also captured Izzo and Green, both all smiles, embracing after the final buzzer:
Spartans in the 🏠— NBA (@NBA) May 11, 2023
Draymond and Tom Izzo chop it up after the Game 5 W 🤝 pic.twitter.com/44Y2HcVICE
That's a far cry from the message Green said Izzo sent him earlier in the series. Indeed, the former made more headlines for his poor play in Game 4, committing two bad turnovers that prompted some schoolyard jeers from Los Angeles' Dennis Schroder.
Green's Game 3 was worse: He had five fouls and a technical in the 127-97 loss, scoring only two points while adding four rebounds and two assists.
MORE: Draymond Green predicts Warriors' 3-1 comeback over Lakers
Those performances prompted Izzo to provide some much-needed encouragement to his former player (in a way only he could):
"If I don’t play well, I’m going to get an earful — and I don’t want that," Green said. "I already got that a couple days ago: 'That’s the first time in a long time I’ve seen you allow officiating to take you out of a game! That’s bulls—. It was blah blah blah.'
"I didn’t want to hear that s— again."
It seems Green's ears will get a reprieve after his Game 5 performance. Whether the same can be said after Game 6 remains to be seen: Tipoff is scheduled for 10 p.m. ET on Friday from Los Angeles.