Draymond Green relishes the villain role.
Always has. He’s made a career out of it.
But there’s no version of that villain quite like NBA Finals Draymond on the road. He – along with Celtics fans – was in full force on Wednesday for Game 3 in Boston as the series shifted East. It didn’t take long for him to get chippy with his newest favorite sparring partner, Grant Williams.
After a physical Game 2 that left Celtics fans fuming that Green didn’t get ejected for what looked like an obvious second technical foul, Boston fans greeted Green with a vigorous chorus of boos before tipoff.
This is fuel for Green, who feeds off the energy of angry opposing fans, even when things aren’t going so great. That energy carried on after tip-off as fans let their feelings be known whenever Green touched the ball.
Early in the second quarter, he provided more inspiration while mixing it up with Williams.
As Jayson Tatum dribbled the ball over halfcourt after a Warriors miss, Green turned his back to the basket to pick him up. Williams saw his chance. He set his feet, leaned into Green and laid a hard pick that sent Green tumbling to the floor.
Williams got whistled for a moving screen. Green popped up to his feet, applauded, then stood his ground as Williams bumped into him with his hands in the air. At that point, the pair had to be separated.
Not the first time for Green, Williams
For reference, here’s the Game 2 interaction that laid the groundwork for the angst between the two. Green barreled over Williams during a Warriors offensive set. The pair jostled after the whistle blew, and Green picked up a technical foul.
There was no technical called after Wednesday’s dust-up, to the likely chagrin of the Celtics, who would be wise to employ a strategy to induce Green into getting T’d up. There will certainly be other opportunities.
In the meantime, Green and Williams – who was critical of officials for not tossing Green in Game 2 – appear to be developing some genuine animosity for one another.