Draymond Green returned to the Golden State Warriors' starting lineup for Monday night's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves after sitting out the previous 11 with a right toe injury.
The Warriors went 6-5 without Green, but coach Steve Kerr said before the game he expected the Warriors to pick up the pace with the 2017 Kia Defensive Player of the Year back in the lineup. Entering last night's game, Golden State ranked 13th in pace (101.05) per NBA.com/Stats.
"I would think the game would get faster and we should be better defensively with Draymond out there," Kerr said. "Hopefully we can get some stops and Draymond can push the ball in transition. That's something we have done for many years, so it would be nice to see."
Green had seven points, 10 rebounds and seven assists and made his first shot, a 3-pointer, in Golden State's 116-108 victory. After sinking that shot, he playfully challenged the Timberwolves to come guard him.
"I felt like a kid in the candy store the last few days," Green said. "To come back off a layoff like that, I felt pretty good. I really had no issues at all. It's good to get back to who we are."
After the game, Kerr said he was pleased with the impact Green had on the Warriors.
“The initial force he played with early in the game, you could feel the pace that he set and the tone that he set,” Kerr said. “I thought Draymond really played a good game. It was a great positive step back for him.”
Per Mark Medina of The Mercury News, the Warriors loved a play Green made to close out the first half. Stephen Curry threw a lob to Green, but Green caught the ball and passed out to Klay Thompson for a 30-foot 3-pointer. Thompson sank that basket as the clock wound down in the second quarter to stake Golden State to a 63-57 lead.
“Realistically, I was gassed and had no energy to go for the layup. And I saw Klay open,” Green said, laughing. “Steph threw me a lob. There’s no way I was catching a lob. Klay was open. It’s the road of less miles traveled. One more dribble probably would’ve taken me out. So get the ball to Klay and walk off.”
A three-time All-Star, Green was on the court 35 minutes before tip-off wearing white headphones and a blue sweatshirt while working on his 3-point shot.
It was Green's second game back since serving a one-game suspension handed down by Golden State for his dust-up with teammate Kevin Durant. The two got into a heated argument at the end of regulation in a 121-116 overtime road loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 12.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.