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Draymond Green Finals diary, Part 22

‘I’m sure I will hear it from the Cavs crowd. I know I will.’

Draymond Green has evolved into one of the most interesting personalities in the NBA, and perhaps all of sports — the vocal leader and emotional engine for one of the most compelling NBA teams in recent memory.

Green has agreed to give The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears an exclusive look into his life on and off the court, via a playoff diary that Green hopes will end with a second straight NBA championship for the Golden State Warriors.

Draymond Green Diary, Entry No. 22

The Golden State Warriors are up 3-2 in the NBA Finals over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Green was suspended for Game 5 after the NBA announced last Sunday that it was retroactively giving him a flagrant foul 1 for striking the groin of Cavaliers forward LeBron James in the fourth quarter of the Warriors’ 108-97 win in Game 4. The Cavaliers kept the series alive by routing the host Warriors 112-97 on Monday at Oracle Arena, in Oakland, California. Green watched next door from the Oakland Coliseum while the Oakland Athletics played. Green declined to speak on James any further, saying he’s “past” that situation and focused on the team. He returns for Game 6 in Cleveland.

Monday was tough. But, sitting in the A’s suite, the support I had was tremendous from my friends, my family, from the organization, from our general manager Bob Myers, from my agent B.J. Armstrong coming over. Bob sat [basically] the whole game with me. That goes so far. To have that support in one of my darkest times means a lot.

“I was sitting there watching the game, like, ‘Ah, man, I would have got the guy the ball when he was open.’ Just knowing the things I could have done to possibly help us win an NBA championship and not being able to do those things, the entire day was tough. Losing didn’t make it any better.

“After the game, I told my guys, ‘Way to battle.’ We didn’t play well, but we battled. I owe it to them to come back and be better. I apologized for not being there. I felt like in that sense I let my teammates down, because I couldn’t be there to help do what we sought out to do the entire year. We sought out to win a championship and I couldn’t help. So I just really apologized … we got another crack at it. Let’s go get Game 6.

“I’m sure I will hear it from the Cavs crowd. I know I will. I heard it from their crowd last year. It’s about going out and playing the game and doing what I can to help this team win. I don’t play this game to be loved by the opposing team’s crowd. I’m loved at the Oracle. I don’t expect to be loved at The Q [Quicken Loans Arena]. It doesn’t matter to me one way or the other. What will matter is coming out, us winning that game and quieting that crowd. That will mean the world to me.

“I beat myself up about every loss. As a leader, when you lose, it falls on you because it’s your job to make sure you play well. Being that I couldn’t do anything, I’m pissed off about it and I’m still pissed off about it. But I have to channel it in a positive way and make sure I do what I can do to make it better, make it right.

Ex-NFL running back, Super Bowl champion and Oakland native Marshawn Lynch was in Green’s suite. Lynch departed with Green after the Warriors’ Game 5 loss.

“He was just telling me, ‘I’ve been suspended on numerous occasions.’ He was talking to me about cherishing these moments because you really realize how tough it is when they’re taken from you, how you realize how people can change and all those things.

“It would mean a lot to win it again. There haven’t been many teams that go back-to-back. We said from the jump, from the beginning of the season, that we wanted to do that. That’s been our goal. We went through some things to get to this point and we’re here. Let’s leave everything you have on the floor.

“Coach [Steve] Kerr talked about it today. He said, ‘There’s four or five possible days left in the season. There can be two. Give everything you can possibly give to make sure it ends well.’

The Warriors announced on Wednesday that center Andrew Bogut would miss the remainder of the Finals due to a knee injury.

“Bogut is a tough loss. It’s definitely going to be tougher without him. He brings something to this team that nobody brings. We’re confident we can still win. There is no doubt in my mind that someone will step up.

“That has been the story of our season. Just about everybody on our team missed games. But other guys stepped up and we figured out ways to win. We just have to do it one more time.”

Marc J. Spears is the senior NBA writer for Andscape. He used to be able to dunk on you, but he hasn’t been able to in years and his knees still hurt.