During the offseason, the Warriors lost a combination of veteran experience and toughness with players who had to fight and claw to make a name for themselves in the NBA. Those components are vital to a championship team and have been a factor in the Warriors’ slow start this season.

That’s where JaMychal Green was supposed to fit in.

Green is 32, with his fifth franchise and in his ninth NBA season after going undrafted out of Alabama. The Warriors have a long history playing against him and jumped at the chance to sign Green to a one-year, $2.6 million contract when he became a free agent over the summer. golden state 120-114 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse without six players and four starters showed why.

“For him to come back after a month and bring that kind of strength, knock down three 3-pointers,” Steve Kerr told reporters in Cleveland after the win, “…JaMychal played a huge role in [the win].”

At 7:49 of the first quarter, Green checked in for his first game since December 18, 2022. Two minutes later, Green grabbed a defensive rebound, ran down the court, and hit a 3-pointer at the top of the arc. . Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, all dressed for business after Thursday night’s overtime loss to the Boston Celtics, rose from their seats and held up three fingers in celebration.

All three have played more than a decade in the NBA and have the utmost respect for Green. They respect his hustle and wanted him in San Francisco. They also know how much they’ve missed him over the past month, both for his mindset and skill set.

It didn’t take long for Green to show his value in many ways. Green scored eight points in the first quarter alone, along with four rebounds and two 3-pointers. By halftime, Green had tied his season high of three 3-pointers. He also committed three fouls in the first half, the third being on a screen where Lamar Stevens grabbed his ribs and had to cautiously step to the side.

“Shout out to JaMychal,” Jordan Poole said. “He gave us some huge draws and he’s just a different force.”

The Warriors dynasty will forever be remembered for their star power and changing the game from behind the 3-point line. On the way, the enforcers found his paper and took him to a ring. They needed the Warriors and the Warriors needed them.

Green can be that this season. They lost to Golden State in the playoffs on three different occasions with three different teams. At 32, Green growls with a smile and enjoys the intimidation, willing to do whatever it takes to win a title.

After missing 14 straight games, first due to being placed under the league’s health and safety protocols and then with an infection in his lower right leg, Green played 16 minutes off the bench in the Los Angeles Lakers’ six-point win. warriors. He scored 13 points, his second highest this season. His eight rebounds were also his second most this season.

“It feels great, it feels great,” Green said when asked about his performance. “I didn’t know. I was worried about the pace and my touch and everything out there. It feels great to finally be out there and play well and get the win.”

This was a long time coming after a frustrating last month for Green. He was hit with COVID during the Warriors’ six-game road trip near the end of the year and had to stay in New York for about a week. Standing at 6-foot-8 and bored to the core in a small room, Green wanted to buy a ticket home and put an end to an unfortunate situation.

While watching movies and binge shows, Green was kept an eye on by his teammates and coaches the entire time. New to the Warriors, that was very helpful. Then came the infection in his leg, another blip in a difficult season for the veteran.

“Don’t pop a bump, don’t pop a pimple,” Green said. “It was crazy, it was unexpected. I thought it was something that could go away quickly, but it just flared up on me and it got worse. I’m glad we caught up before it got worse.”

Not long ago, Green had trouble walking and had to be hospitalized overnight and was absent for a month. The season has not gone as planned. Going into Friday night, he was averaging 5.8 points and 4.0 rebounds while shooting just 26.5 percent on 3-pointers. Green’s 112 defensive rating entering the game was the worst of his career, and his 108 offensive rating was second worst.

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But in his last game before being postponed for so long, Green scored 15 points with seven rebounds and two 3-pointers in a win against the Toronto Raptors. He also scored 15 points two games before that in a loss to the Indiana Pacers, a game in which he added five rebounds and went a perfect 3-of-3 3-pointer.

Adapting to a new team is not easy. Green began to find his rhythm, and with freedom. That is the feeling that Kerr pushed onto him more than anything. The message was heard loud and clear.

“Before I got COVID, I was playing for free,” Green said. “I got out of my own way, I wasn’t thinking too much about the game or the mistakes. I just went out and played free.”

“Tonight Steve told me to just ‘Go out and play for free. I know you missed some games, I know you can make mistakes, but just play.’ He needed to hear that.’ ”

Role players have been sorely missed this season. The importance of Green’s role was evident in his first game back, an improbable victory before a happy flight home.

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By sbavh

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