In this year’s most highly anticipated NBA Christmas Day matchup, fans were treated to an NBA Finals rematch between the defending champion Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavaliers, who were without All-Stars Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving in the championship series, finally had a fully healthy roster in this one, so a game against the Warriors would serve as an ideal barometer to see where they’re at as a team.
Golden State prevailed 89-83 behind a monster 22 point, 15 rebound, 7 assist performance from Draymond Green, the engine to the Warriors’ death machine. In addition to his always brilliant defensive work, Green paced the Dubs on offense on a rather quiet afternoon for Stephen Curry. He hit big shots, made sharp reads when asked to facilitate things and manned the five-spot when the Warriors went to an altered version of their small-ball “Death Lineup” at the end of the game.
Green also managed to join rarified air with his strong showing, becoming the first player to drop at least 20 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists on Christmas Day since Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Chris Webber did it in 2002.
The 22-15-7 line from Draymond Green was the first of its kind in a Christmas Day game in awhile pic.twitter.com/OMeI3EujE3
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 26, 2015
At this point, excluding Green from any “best two-way” player discussion would be a travesty, and this guy should definitely be an All-Star. He’s averaging career-highs in every major statistical category, averaging 14.6 points, 9 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game, all while shooting 46% from the floor and 38% from three. With Klay Thompson grappling with early season struggles (he’s come on as of late,) you could argue that Green has supplanted Splash Brother #2 as the Warriors’ second-best player.