Why Draymond Green doesn’t believe Celtics’ challenge compares to LeBron James

Why Draymond Doesn’t Think C’s Challenge is LeBron’s Comparable originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

For four years, Draymond Green and the Warriors had to find a way to beat a LeBron James-led team in the NBA Finals.

But they made it three of the four years before LeBron left the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Those four finals in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 were all-out battles between one of the most talented squads ever assembled and arguably the brightest player of this generation.

On Wednesday before Game 6 of the Finals against the Boston Celtics, Green was asked to compare the challenge of the Eastern Conference champions and LeBron teams over the years. The Warriors star forward only answered the question after making it clear there was no comparison.

“Well, it doesn’t compare to playing mentally against LeBron James, who I think is probably the smartest guy to ever play that game,” Green told reporters in Boston. “None of them, he’s probably the smartest guy to set foot on a basketball court. To say it’s comparable is disrespect to LeBron and a lie to you.

“To say that mentally it’s challenging because these guys are super athletic. They’re super young and fast and strong and all the things we know and have heard throughout this series. You are those things. And then they’re obviously super talented, and when you’re faced with that, you have to try to outdo a guy. If a guy is faster than me, how can I beat him by a point? I have to anticipate and I have to think about it. I have to try to understand what he’s getting at. So I think in this series that was huge from a mental standpoint and I was just trying to understand them and get ahead of them.

The 2022 NBA Finals series had its ups and downs before reaching its current state, where the Warriors led by three games to two and had a chance to end it in Game 6 on Thursday night.

Boston stole away home court by rallying to win Game 1 in San Francisco and looked like they were in command as they won Game 3 on their home court at TD Garden to go two games to one in to take the lead.

But as seen with the Warriors in their eight-year dynasty, no series is ever over until it’s actually done.

Green, coach Steve Kerr and the rest of the Warriors made their adjustments, clinched a season-saving Game 4 win thanks to a legendary 43-point performance from Steph Curry in Boston, came home and won Game 5 behind Andrew Wiggins’ career-game swings the momentum of the series to the point where the Celtics are now playing to salvage their season.

Despite everything that has happened over the past two weeks, Green simply cannot compare what he faces now to what he had to deal with at LeBron.

“Not a chess game like against LeBron, who analyzes every move in his computer, like in real time,” Green said. “Like it’s just a skill not many people have. Not many people can come in and sit here and find a random seven minute four minute stretch in the second quarter and give you every game like the T and not miss a shot. There aren’t many people who can do that.

“Well, if they say so, they have a guy over there in Marcus Smart who’s extremely smart and it’s like a game of chess against him. He’s like the brains of this team. I think any team that you have, that guy, that’s the brains of that team, and they have that in Marcus Smart, a guy I have tremendous respect for and his basketball IQ. So it’s definitely a challenge. [Celtics coach] I [Udoka] is extremely smart. We know his family tree.

“So the challenge is there, but you can’t match it against LeBron’s. Like I said, he’s probably the smartest guy we’ve ever seen play basketball.”

RELATED: Warriors hail final road trip with hopes of celebratory flight home

Green and the Warriors know the biggest “challenge” of the series awaits them. Eliminating an opponent, especially on the street, is the most difficult game in a series to win. And the Warriors certainly don’t want anything to do with a Game 7 on Sunday. So they will do everything in their power to get into TD Garden and celebrate their fourth NBA title in eight seasons.

Green doesn’t want to compare the Celtics to LeBron, but it might be wise to imagine James on the other side just so the Warriors think and process at the highest possible level.

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