SAN FRANCISCO — JaMychal Green promised shortly after he signed a one-year deal in free agency that he would help Draymond Green with the dirty work.
“Be a dog,” JaMychal Green said back in August. “Knock down shots and play defense. Just coming in here to play hard.”
That dog had a little more bite Monday night in the Warriors’ win over the Phoenix Suns.
Green and Damion Lee had to be separated in the fourth quarter after the two got into a heated spat. It started with the two getting into a shoving match on one end before it eventually escalated to them receiving double technical fouls at the 1:12 mark in the fourth.
Green came to the defense of Moses Moody after Lee crashed into the second-year guard sending him to the floor. The 6-foot-8 power forward pushed Lee in retaliation and the two had to be separated by their teammates.
“I just reacted,” Green said Tuesday after practice. “It was just the heat of the moment, they were beating us up this season and every game is a must-win game right now, so it’s like playoff mode.”
Coach Steve Kerr said he liked to see Green’s toughness in a moment like that.
“You like to have a guy who’s going to back up his teammates, which we saw last night,” Kerr said. “That’s great for chemistry, that’s great for team’s morale and J-Mych has provided that.”
It took some time but Green is finally starting to find his fit with the Warriors after months of searching and setbacks.
Kerr has admitted that he didn’t put Green in the best position to succeed early in the season as he experimented with the lineups. Green then experienced a series of misfortune, catching COVID around Christmas and then missing an extended stretch because of a staph infection in his leg. Both of those trials took a toll on Green’s mental health.
“I was frustrated with the process,” he said.
Green found ways to keep things in perspective, reflecting on his nine-year NBA career. That reflection period helped him establish his current mindset to “control what I can control and play free.”
It’s paying off as of late. Green has averaged 7.1 points and 3.4 rebounds off the bench in the last 10 games. He’s hitting timely 3s at an impressive 46.4% clip, while also finishing around the basket.
“He’s persevered, he just stayed with it and he’s been really good lately,” Kerr said. “Obviously knocking down shots but providing that toughness and grit.”
Jonathan Kuminga participated in the Warriors’ walkthrough Tuesday afternoon at Chase Center and is questionable for Wednesday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers, according to Kerr.
Kuminga was getting some individual work shortly before the Warriors’ left their facility to board the team’s plane for Los Angeles.
Kuminga has missed three straight games after spraining his right ankle last week. Kuminga slipped while driving to the basket and rolled his ankle during warmups for Thursday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies.