Draymond Green’s Arthur-themed kicks set the tone for the Golden State Warriors’ nail-biting 99-92 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Before the game, an image of Arthur standing beside a Christmas tree, being featured on the back of Green’s sneakers foreshadowed Golden State’s strategy against LeBron James. It was a shoe commissioned by Green weeks in advance of the Christmas Day matchup because what else would he do before a Christmas Day showdown against James besides blow metaphorical spitballs at the back of his neck?
Draymond Green using Christmas as the perfect time to troll LeBron & the Cavs pic.twitter.com/6ye4qnQgZN
— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) December 25, 2017
The Arthur fist meme was recently revived by James on Instagram following a Boston Celtics victory and has proliferated within NBA social circles. However, Green is the first opponent to flip it and actively troll James.
Green arrived to Oracle Arena with a mission. He had James all over his brain and his feet followed. Green earned a triple-double, but he was the key component of a defensive penumbra that formed over James. Over the course of the evening, Green was superglued to James. He swooped in and swatted a James lay-in underneath the basket in the second quarter.
— NBA UK (@NBAUK) December 25, 2017
When Green wasn’t smothering James, he created fast-break opportunities through his shot-blocking prowess. Green wasn’t alone. Containing James was a group effort.
Draymond Green block on Thompson. Durant dunk on the other end. pic.twitter.com/7bTuNgfajX
— ⓂarcusD (@_MarcusD2_) December 25, 2017
Rookie Jordan Bell also took turns defending James. It went markedly better than this summer’s L.A. open gym, in which he discussed getting schooled by James.
— KNBR (@KNBR) December 25, 2017
In the fourth quarter, Durant locked in and frustrated James even further. Overall James finished 7-of-18 from the field, made 2-of-7 treys, dished six assists and committed seven turnovers. On the Cavs’ penultimate possession, Durant swatted another James lay-up that wound up ricocheting off the four-time MVP’s hand.
It was the fifth block for Durant, who also scored 25 points on 8-of-19 shooting. That didn’t even include Andre Iguodala, who cultivated a career out of causing perimeter scorers to malfunction. Watching James get his drawers strung up a flagpole down the stretch was jarring to witness. Minus Stephen Curry, the Warriors’ defensive fortitude and their bully-ball lineup was the difference between them and Cleveland’s 27th ranked defense.
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