I will probably get a double technical against Draymond Green, says Udoka
Hang on to the ball and don’t freak out over Draymond Green. That’s what the Boston Celtics would like to change heading into Game 3 of the NBA Finals, reports theathletic.com.
“We look at the numbers overall, we’re 13-2 when we have 15 or less turnovers in the playoffs, and we’re 0-5 when we have 16 or more,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said. “That kind of tells a story.”
Boston committed 19 turnovers leading to 33 points in its 107-88 loss to the Golden State Warriors in Game 2, which evened the finals at one game apiece. The series shifts to Boston for Game 3 at 9 p.m. ET today.
This is the first finals for all the Celtics’ players, and they caught a glimpse of the intensity Draymond Green brings when the stakes are this high — rough-housing and jack-jawing with an intentionality to disrupt.
Green drew one technical for bickering with Grant Williams in the first quarter Sunday, and could have picked up a disqualifying second in a tussle with Jaylen Brown that was broken up by Celtics teammates at the last possible moment before escalation.
“If you want to ignore it, ignore it. If you engage, engage,” Udoka said. “I told them if I was a player, who I was, I would probably get a double technical immediately. But that’s not everybody.”
Green has collected four technicals and two flagrant fouls in the postseason. Automatic suspensions are triggered by seven technicals and three flagrants – so Green needs to be careful he doesn’t repeat the 2016 Finals, when he was suspended for Game 5.
“He’s at his best when he’s passionate and emotional,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “I thought he played a great game the other night. He got the early tech, but he left the officials alone all night.
“The play is always going to be physical in the playoffs,” Kerr continued. “Being physical is part of it. So the main thing is you have to leave the officials alone, and Draymond did a good job of that.”
The Celtics’ turnover issue has defined each of their losses in the postseason. Jayson Tatum has committed 83 turnovers so far in the 2022 playoffs and is on pace to break LeBron James’ dubious NBA record of 94 turnovers from 2018.
Tatum gave the ball away four times in Game 2 against the Warriors. Marcus Smart was worse, with five turnovers. Udoka said the Celtics tried to drive too much into traffic, a factor in the Warriors’ 15 steals.
“Basically, when we don’t turn the ball over we give ourselves a better chance to win,” Tatum said. “It’s not rocket science.”
Kerr said reserve forward Andre Iguodala (knee) is questionable for Game 3. He did not play in Game 2 due to knee swelling.