After helping the Warriors win the West, Draymond Green was repeatedly asked by Shaquille O’Neal on TNT about an NBA Finals opponent.
We’re going to play Boston. That’s who we’re going to play.
Though brazen for a player to say, the prediction was far from outlandish. The better team for months, the Celtics had just taken a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference finals and had a home Game 6. Miami looked spent.
Of course, the Heat won in Boston last night. And they’re letting Green hear about it.
Udonis Haslem, via Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
“Draymond broke the code,” Haslem told Yahoo Sports after the Heat’s 111-103 victory. “You ain’t supposed to say some s*** like that. That’s disrespectful. He know better than that.”
“He let Shaq peer pressure him into saying some s*** he ain’t got no business saying,” Haslem told Yahoo Sports. “I didn’t sleep much after he said that. That was some bulls***.”
That’s some extreme rhetoric.
Green disrespected the Heat, no question. But broke the code? The last time that phrase came up was when a someone made a dirty play that injured an opponent. This was merely an unkind prediction, a cocky assumption.
Players will seek motivation wherever they can find it. If this helped/helps the Heat win, more power to them. But Haslem – one of the NBA’s most-hardnosed players – comes across a little soft when he talks about losing sleep over Green’s words.
Also clearly fueled by Green, Miami forward P.J. Tucker wasn’t nearly as worked up.
Tucker ended his postgame interview on ESPN – which included no questions about Green – with “Tell Draymond I said I appreciate it.” Asked about Green’s comment in his postgame press conference, Tucker elaborated:
It’s funny. We laughed. I thought it was funny, because he knows better than anybody, we’ve still got to play games. We’ve got to play. There’s no guarantees for anybody in this league.
It’s kind of weird to be a player and pick another team. I don’t know.
If the Heat win Game 7 tomorrow, Green will definitely have egg on his face. Miami will be especially fired up to beat him in the NBA Finals.
I suspect Green won’t mind, though.
The Celtics have shown a higher ceiling than the Heat this season. Jimmy Butler‘s knee problems aren’t suddenly disappearing. Neither are Kyle Lowry‘s hamstring issues.
Even if Miami wills itself past Boston, Golden State would probably have an easier time beating the Heat in the Finals. Not an easy time. But an easier time.
I doubt Green was trying to motivate his desired opponent into the Finals. But he’s a smart player and media-savvy. I at least wonder.
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Udonis Haslem: Draymond Green ‘broke the code’ by saying Celtics would make NBA Finals over Heat originally appeared on NBCSports.com