For all the talent the Golden State Warriors have on their roster, it would amount to nothing if not for the remarkable chemistry the players have developed.
They always seem to know exactly the right thing to say in order to get the best performance possible out of each other.
It seems especially evident when one of them is coming off a relatively lackluster performance, as Kevin Durant was after game 3.
For all the credit Steve Kerr gets as an impeccable motivator, the players are also able to assist in that capacity. Draymond Green is one of the most passionate players in the entire league, and he’s never afraid to speak his mind.
Chris Haynes of ESPN has a great piece about the message Green sent to Durant as the team was preparing for game 4 after an especially demoralizing loss in game 3.
The New Orleans Pelicans had moved within one victory of tying the series, and Green realized that the team had to play better.
Game 3 was traumatized enough from a basketball perspective that he spent a restless night dissecting game film. He got so upset that he sent an extremely impassioned text message to his friend and teammate Durant to get some things off his chest.
The text consisted of pleas to Durant to be more aggressive on both ends of the court and simply be the player he’s capable of being.
Surprised to receive a text within that type of context, Durant had a simple reply to his teammate’s imposed challenge: “I got you.”
The tactic seemed to pay off for both the Warriors as well as Durant. Not only did the Warriors cruise to a blowout 118-92 victory in that game 4, but Durant scored 38 points in 36 minutes.
He also grabbed 9 rebounds and dished out 5 assists. Not only was he aggressive, but also efficient, shooting 15-27 from the field.
The Warriors are now just one win away from advancing to the Western Conference Finals, and Green’s text to Durant seems to be a huge reason why.
Durant is an all-world talent, but it’s never wise to discount the intangible motivational factors behind such dominant performances.
Maybe Durant would have drifted further away from his normal style of play if it hadn’t been for Green giving him a gentle nudge back to where he needed to be.
The Warriors will now return to Oakland with a 3-1 series lead needing just one more victory to get closer to their goal of a championship.