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Since the start of 2018, India have taken more wickets than any other team in ODI cricket, at a better average than any other Full Member team barring Afghanistan. These are highly encouraging numbers for a team heading into a World Cup, and Mohammed Shami is proud of being part of an attack that is considered among the best in the world.

Fast bowlers Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are key components of India's attack, and their USP, according to Shami, is their ability to bowl skillfully at high pace.

"In the last 20 or 30 years, if you look back at the history of Indian cricket, it has always been dominated by the batsmen. You cannot really blame the bowlers because the wickets that were prepared in India were also not helpful towards the bowlers," Shami told IANS. "Things have started improving in the last five to seven years and, to be honest, it has been a process and not something that has happened overnight. We have been bowling as a unit and that helps.

"The best part is that along with variety, we have an attack that can bowl fast. Having skills and pace together is the USP of this side as that somewhere increases the confidence of the attack. To be honest, it is like a dream that has come true and I feel very proud that today people talk about our bowling unit as one of the best - a thing that wasn't heard much, but is now called our strength."

Shami was the leader of India's pace attack at the 2015 World Cup, picking up 17 wickets in the tournament at an average of 17.29. After that, however, injuries and the emergence of new talent limited his white-ball opportunities even as he remained a vital member of India's Test attack. Between India's semifinal exit in Sydney and the end of 2018, Shami only played five ODIs.

Since the start of this year, however, he has been India's most incisive new-ball operator in ODIs, and has picked up 19 wickets in 11 matches at an average of 26.42.

"I hadn't been playing white-ball cricket for a while but in the series against Australia, I gained in confidence and just looked to keep that going even in the IPL," he said. "Also, playing consistently for KXIP (Kings XI Punjab) helped me. Getting to play day-in day-out helps you perform and get the right momentum.

"I was just waiting for an opportunity as I had a good record in white-ball cricket. Waited for almost two years and I had it in mind that when I did get the chance, I will show what I could do. Always knew that I can adapt to the shorter format and bowl the line and length required to succeed."

West Indies have named allrounders Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo in their 10-man list of reserve players for the upcoming World Cup.

Bravo, who "officially retired" from international cricket in October last year, hasn't played for West Indies in any format since September 2016, and hasn't played an ODI since October 2014. Pollard last played an ODI in October 2016. Both players were involved in the IPL final on May 12, with Pollard helping Mumbai Indians clinch a record fourth title.

The official 15-member World Cup squad is undergoing a training camp in Southampton from May 19 to 23. Two reserve players will also be part of the camp. Top-order batsman Sunil Ambris, who impressed during the recent ODI tri-series in Ireland, will cover for Evin Lewis, who has just recovered from a viral illness, and left-arm seamer Raymon Reifer will help the bowling unit manage its workload.

The camp also includes an additional warm-up fixture against Australia, on May 22, at the Rose Bowl.

The other six reserves are batsmen John Campbell and Jonathan Carter, spin-bowling allrounders Roston Chase and Khary Pierre, wicketkeeper-batsman Shane Dowrich, and seam-bowling allrounder Keemo Paul.

CWI CEO Johnny Grave said the training camp and extra warm-up game had been scheduled with a view to helping the squad acclimatise better to conditions in England, especially the seven members of the squad who were part of the IPL and as a result missed the Ireland tri-series.

"We are very grateful to Hampshire CCC for agreeing to host us at the Ageas Bowl and to Cricket Australia for agreeing the additional warm-up game," Grave said. "Due to the commitments and promises made, to both our players and the BCCI, this is the first time that our entire World Cup squad can get together since the IPL finished. We are confident that these additional five days of training and the extra warm-up game will mean that our players will be ready to perform at their best in our opening match against Pakistan on the 31st May."

Speaking about the reserves, Robert Haynes, the interim chairman of selectors, said: "The choice of players in the reserve list is to really cover our bases and ensure we have a good balance in the pool of players that can be selected if replacements are required. We think the skill-set in this pool is strong, with a good blend of experience and upcoming young players who can be ready to contribute if and when required."

West Indies begin their World Cup campaign on May 31, when they face Pakistan at Trent Bridge.

West Indies World Cup squad: Jason Holder (capt), Chris Gayle, Kemar Roach, Darren Bravo, Andre Russell, Shai Hope (wk), Sheldon Cottrell, Evin Lewis, Shannon Gabriel, Carlos Brathwaite, Ashley Nurse, Shimron Hetmyer, Fabian Allen, Oshane Thomas, Nicholas Pooran

Reserve players: Sunil Ambris, Dwayne Bravo, John Campbell, Jonathan Carter, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Raymon Reifer, Kieron Pollard

Toss England chose to bat Pakistan

England have won the toss and, in a deviation from the rest of the series, decided to bat first at Headingley. Eoin Morgan, back from his one-match suspension for slow over rate, said it was an excellent wicket to bat on, and a good opportunity for the batsmen to set a target.

With the series sealed, England have rung the changes, with Jason Roy, Joe Denly, Jofra Archer and Mark Wood all rested, while David Willey and Chris Woakes return to the side.

Pakistan, looking to avoid their 11th defeat in completed ODIs on the trot, were dealt a blow after it emerged Imam-ul-Haq would not be fit to take his place in the XI, giving Abid Ali his first game of the series. Junaid Khan also misses out after a difficult outing in Nottingham, where he went for 85 and found boundary fielding a particular challenge. Shaheen Afridi takes his place.

This ODI is the final match for both teams ahead of the World Cup.

England 1 Jonny Bairstow, 2 James Vince, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Jos Buttler (wk) 6 Ben Stokes, 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Tom Curran, 10 Chris Woakes, 10 David Willey, 11 Adil Rashid

Pakistan 1 Abid Ali, 2 Fakhar Zaman, 3 Babar Azam, 4 Shoaib Malik, 5 Sarfaraz Ahmed (capt&wk), 6 Mohammad Hafeez, 7 Asif Ali, 8 Imad Wasim, 9 Hasan Ali, 10 Mohammad Hasnain, 11 Shaheen Afridi.

Afghanistan opted to bowl in the first of two ODIs against Ireland in Belfast, their tune-up series before they get to the 2019 World Cup. Having undergone a camp in South Africa and played against Scotland, Afghanistan have arrived in Ireland with a full-strength squad.

Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who has recovered from a finger injury sustained in the IPL, will be the third spinner in their XI alongside Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi. Rashid and Nabi, too, missed the Scotland game because of their commitments with Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL.

This is Afghanistan's second ODI following their sudden captaincy switch that had Gulbadin Naib replacing Asghar Afghan at the helm.

As for Ireland, they didn't make the final of their home tri-series against Bangladesh and West Indies, but have two more opportunities to showcase their abilities and, perhaps, even topple a World Cup-bound side.

Ireland made two changes. Tim Murtagh and Andy McBrine replaced Barry McCarthy and the injured Josh Little. This meant they featured two spinners, with McBrine joining the experienced George Dockrell.

Ireland: 1 Paul Stirling, 2 James McCollum, 3 Andrew Balbirnie, 4 William Porterfield (capt), 5 Kevin O'Brien, 6 Mark Adair, 7 Gary Wilson (wk), 8 George Dockrell, 9 Tim Murtagh, 10 Boyd Rankin, 11 Andy McBrine

Afghanistan: 1 Mohammad Shahzad (wk), 2 Hazratullah Zazai, 3 Rahmat Shah, 4 Hashmatullah Shahidi, 5 Asghar Afghan, 6 Gulbadin Naib (capt), 7 Mohammad Nabi, 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Dawlat Zadran, 10 Aftab Alam, 11 Mujeeb Ur Rahman

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Eagles' Long says he's retiring after 11 seasons

Published in Breaking News
Saturday, 18 May 2019 19:38

PHILADELPHIA -- Eagles defensive end Chris Long, the reigning Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, is calling it a career after 11 seasons.

Long made the announcement Saturday night on social media, sharing a photo of a red cup in his hand and the mountains in the distance.

The Eagles released a statement congratulating Long, saying, in part, "He will always be part of the Eagles family."

"There aren't many players who can say they won back-to-back Super Bowls and the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year award," the Eagles said. "There's no question that his work ethic combined with his unique talent made him into one of the greatest of this era's professional athletes. We're very thankful Chris chose to play for the Philadelphia Eagles."

Long, 34, spent much of the offseason weighing whether to retire or play another season. He made it clear that his role would need to be right if he were to return for a 12th NFL season.

Long wanted ample opportunity to get after the quarterback. With Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett slated to be the Eagles' starters and defensive tackle Malik Jackson likely to stay on the field on third down, Long's playing time in pass-rushing situations would have been more limited than he'd like.

"It's kind of like at the amusement park, when they click that seat belt on, the roller coaster going -- you can't get out. There's no quitting," Long told ESPN earlier this offseason. "Some guys might think differently, but when you're in, you're in, so I want to make sure I'm in. I think most players need to do that, and I'm just honest about it. Maybe some guys just aren't telling the truth. But it's all about the situation for me. I know I can still play. I think I played well, especially in the second half of the year this year, once I got healthy and I got more snaps, so we'll see."

Long was a part of two Super Bowl championship teams in back-to-back seasons -- with the New England Patriots in 2016 and then the Eagles in 2017, helping deliver Philadelphia its first Lombardi Trophy.

Selected second overall by St. Louis in the 2008 NFL draft, he spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Rams before being released in 2016 as injuries limited his production. His 6.5 sacks this past season were his most since 2013.

The son of NFL legend Howie Long, he posted 70 career sacks and 85 tackles for loss over his career.

For all of his on-field success, Long's legacy largely will be defined by the way he used his platform to maximize his humanitarian efforts. Through his organization, Waterboys, he has helped provide more than 200,000 people with clean water in Africa, building close to 60 water wells in Tanzania.

Long donated his entire 2017 salary to educational efforts in Virginia and a quarter of his 2018 salary to help get books into the hands of kids in underserved neighborhoods.

This offseason, he was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, an award that recognizes a player for excellence on and off the field.

"I think everybody knows that they're not as good of a person as [portrayed]; I think if you're honest with yourself, everybody has a lot of work to do," he said. "It's always en vogue to say, 'Man, I'm humbled,' but I mean it. There are things that I'm constantly working on.

"Listen, are we the most productive foundation off the field in an NFL locker room? I believe that. I believe our productivity as a foundation and my productivity off the field is really solid. I just think if the award is meant to be given to a clean-cut guy who never screws up or doesn't have much to work on -- I'm a work in progress and anybody who knows me would tell you that. I try to do the right thing and sometimes you're going to fall short. I was happy to accept the award on behalf of everybody who has been a part of it. I just think it's a hell of an honor, it's a hell of an award for one person to accept and I don't think it's realistic, but I'm happy to accept it."

Wilder settles Breazeale feud with 1st-round KO

Published in Breaking News
Saturday, 18 May 2019 21:17

NEW YORK -- In the acrimonious lead-up to heavyweight world titleholder Deontay Wilder's defense against mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale, Wilder spent a lot of time talking about how much he wanted to hurt him.

Wilder even accentuated that he could legally kill his opponent in the ring, saying a few days before their fight on Saturday night that boxing "is the only sport where you can kill a man and get paid for it at the same time. It's legal. So why not use my right to do so?"

While Wilder didn't cause that kind of damage, he nonetheless obliterated Breazeale with a massive right hand for a violent first-round knockout victory before an announced crowd of 13,181 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Wilder, one of the great punchers of all time, retained his world title for the ninth time as he scored one of the most spectacular knockouts in a career filled with them. It will undoubtedly be a candidate for knockout of the year.

"Everything just came out of me tonight," Wilder said. "I know it's been a big build-up. There's been a lot of animosity and a lot of words that were said, and it just came out of me tonight. That's what makes boxing so great."

In retaining his title for the ninth consecutive time, Wilder tied Muhammad Ali (during his first title reign), Joe Frazier, Mike Tyson (in his first reign) and Lennox Lewis (in his second reign) on the all-time heavyweight list. The all-time record for any division is 25 by Joe Louis. Other heavyweights who are still ahead of Wilder are Larry Holmes (20), Wladimir Klitschko (18 in his second reign), Vitali Klitschko (11 in his second reign), Tommy Burns (11) and Ali (10 in his second reign).

The fight started with a bang and ended quickly after that.

A Wilder right hand hurt fellow 6-foot-7 giant Breazeale early, and then he got another through that sent Breazeale toward the ropes. Breazeale shook his head and smiled as if the punch did not hurt him, but it was clear it had. Wilder was all over him and landing punches.

"I saw him slow up a little bit. When I hit him with the right hand the first time, his body language changed," Wilder said. "When you've been in with so many guys, you can recognize body language."

Breazeale mounted a short rally in which he also landed a couple of right hands -- the only two punches he landed of his 10 attempts in the fight, according to CompuBox -- one of which knocked Wilder off balance, but Wilder was undeterred. He kept swinging in what was turning into a slugfest.

It is not wise for anyone to bang with a man as powerful as Wilder, who then unleashed a monstrous right hand that connected clean on the chin and dropped Breazeale hard on his back spread eagle. Breazeale attempted to get to his feet, but referee Harvey Dock counted him out at 2 minutes, 17 seconds.

Wilder connected with nine of 35 shots (26 percent), but there was only one that really counted.

"I think the ref stopped it a little early because I could hear him saying seven and eight, but that's boxing," said Breazeale, whose three-fight winning streak came to a thudding end. "He did his job and kept us safe for our next fight. I got on my feet and had my legs under me. It's the heavyweight division, so there's going to be big shots from guys with power.

"This was a situation where he landed the big right hand before I did. I thought I was going to come on in the later rounds. I'll be back and go for the heavyweight title again."

The intense animosity between Wilder and (41-0-1, 40 KOs), 33, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Breazeale (20-2, 18 KOs), 33, of Eastvale, California, stemmed from an incident in February 2017, when Wilder retained his title and Breazeale won on the undercard in Birmingham, Alabama. Later that night, there was a confrontation between the fighters and their teams at the fight hotel, and Breazeale alleged that Wilder's younger brother, Marsellos, had punched him in the head from behind.

After the fight on Saturday, however, the 223¼-pound Wilder, who was outweighed by 32 pounds against the 255¼-pound Breazeale, said the bad blood had been laid to rest.

"I just told Breazeale I love him, and, of course, I want to see him go home to his family," Wilder said. "I know we say some things, but when you can fight a man and then you can hug him and kiss him, I wish the world was like that. We shake hands, and we live to see another day, and that's what it's all about."

Then attention turned to the future. The biggest fight in the sport would be Wilder against three-belt titleholder Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs), the British star who is due to make his United States debut against Andy Ruiz Jr. on June 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York. In June 2016, Breazeale got his first shot at a world title against Joshua, who dominated but needed seven rounds to knock him out.

There have been various attempts to make a Wilder-Joshua fight, but they have failed with the boxers ending on different television platforms and arguing about various aspects of a deal.

There is also the matter of a rematch with lineal champion Tyson Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs), of England, whom Wilder knocked down twice in a split draw in their classic fight in December. The rematch was agreed to and about to be signed when Fury changed course and took a co-promotional deal with Top Rank to move to ESPN, where he will debut on ESPN+ against Tom Schwarz on June 15 in Las Vegas.

Wilder would have liked that rematch but said he understood Fury's decision and insisted fans will eventually get to see those fights even if Wilder's next bout is likely to be either a rematch with Luis "King Kong" Ortiz -- whom he knocked out in the 10th round 14 months ago in a sensational slugfest, also at Barclays Center -- or a fight with New York-based Polish contender Adam Kownacki.

"I understand what Tyson Fury did," Wilder said. "When you get dropped on the canvas like that, I understand you have to get yourself back together. But the rematch will happen, like all these other fights will happen. The great thing is all these fights are in discussion. The big fights will happen. I just want you to have patience.

"You know what the saying is -- good things come to those who wait."

Rockets not bringing back defensive guru Bzdelik

Published in Basketball
Saturday, 18 May 2019 16:38

The Houston Rockets are not renewing the contract of associate head coach Jeff Bzdelik, one of the architects of the team's defensive turnaround this past season.

"Jeff's contract was up. It will not be renewed," Rockets general manager Daryl Morey told the Houston Chronicle. "We're looking for any way to improve. That goes for players, coaches, front office, everything."

Bzdelik, 66, was convinced to come out of retirement in November after the Rockets' season got off to a rocky start.

Bzdelik started in the NBA 30 years ago as a scout, eventually working for Pat Riley with the New York Knicks and becoming head coach of the Denver Nuggets from 2002 to '04. He was a college head coach with Air Force, Colorado and Wake Forest.

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Golden State Warriors swingman Andre Iguodala injured his left calf in Saturday night's 110-99 Game 3 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, and he will have an MRI on Sunday.

"He was sore," Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said after Iguodala played just 17 minutes, 33 seconds in Game 3. "Lower leg, just had some soreness. He's going to get an MRI tomorrow. We didn't want to risk anything and put him back in the game. So, when we took him out mid-third, trainer said that'll be it for him. We'll know more tomorrow."

Iguodala initially left the game in the first quarter to be checked out, but he returned to action, before being taken out for good in the third quarter. Kerr was able to give Warriors backup swingman Alfonzo McKinnie some of Iguodala's minutes, and McKinnie responded by finishing the game with a plus-24 plus/minus.

For his part, Iguodala didn't seem overly concerned about the injury as he left Moda Center late Saturday night. He was walking a little stiffly but was laughing and joking with friends on his way out of the building.

Iguodala, who is averaging 30.2 minutes a game in the postseason, has been one of the Warriors' most consistent players in the playoffs, averaging 10.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists a game. His recent performance is even more impressive, given the defensive matchups he has been given throughout the postseason -- and the fact he was averaging just 23.2 minutes in the regular season, as Kerr tried to manage his minutes so he would be fresh for the playoffs.

With the Warriors up 3-0 in the Western Conference finals, if they are able to close out the Blazers in Game 4 on Monday night, Iguodala would have nine days of rest prior to Game 1 of the NBA Finals on May 30. It's a break that also would help Kevin Durant (calf) and DeMarcus Cousins (quad) continue to rehab as they try to make their way back to the floor.

Kerr brushed off the idea of the potential break, preferring to keep the focus on trying to eliminate the Blazers.

"We won't talk about anything other than Game 4," Kerr said. "What's after that doesn't matter, maybe game 5, maybe game 6. So, we just focus on the next game ahead of us. We've got some guy's banged up, but we've done a really good job. I'm really proud of this group for playing through a number of injuries we've had.

"It's a remarkable group to continue to press and play at this level without so many key guys, so I'm very proud of them."

PORTLAND -- Damian Lillard grabbed the ball during a timeout in the third quarter of Saturday's Game 3 and shot a short set shot. He grabbed it again after making the shot and hit a layup before walking to the Portland Trail Blazers' bench.

Lillard just wanted to see the ball go through the net, which has been a rare occurrence for the Trail Blazers' star in the Western Conference finals.

Portland is in jeopardy of being swept by the Golden State Warriors in part because Lillard has struggled to get in any sort of rhythm while facing a constant barrage of double-teams and blitzes on pick-and-rolls.

"I think what they want me to do is make the correct play, and for me, I try to do that for as long as possible," Lillard said after scoring 19 points on 5-of-18 shooting in the 110-99 loss Saturday. "You know, as long as I can do it, and we can stay in the game or have a lead like we have the last two games, when I'm just making the right plays, and guys are doing what they're supposed to do on the weak side.

"But I think in Golden State's minds, they know at some point, if we're going to beat them, I'm going to have to be rolling."

Lillard is averaging 20.3 points in the series, but he's shooting only 32.6 percent from the floor and has almost as many turnovers (14) as made field goals (15).

"I'm tired of hearing people say that Dame hasn't stepped up," said Blazers center Meyers Leonard, who scored 16 points in his first start of the playoffs. "No. Wrong. He's our leader. He's a damn good player. He's a first-team All-NBA player this year, and other guys have to be willing to screen. They have to be willing to execute, make plays and help them out and loosen up the defense. So that way, when [Lillard and CJ McCollum] do get some looks, they can knock them down. It's as simple as that."

Lillard suffered a separated rib in Game 2, when Golden State center Kevon Looney fell on him while fighting for a loose ball, a league source said. However, the source downplayed the impact of the rib on Lillard's performance, saying that he frequently plays through injuries.

The Warriors' defense has given Lillard trouble, forcing him to be one-dimensional as a scorer. He's only 5-of-20 on shots inside the 3-point line in the series.

Lillard excelled attacking off the dribble in the first two rounds of the playoffs, in which he averaged 7.4 points per game off of drives, shooting 51 percent on those possessions, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He has averaged only 2.0 points per game on drives in the West finals, shooting 22 percent on those plays.

In Game 3, Lillard missed all five of his attempts inside the restricted area, with Draymond Green or Looney challenging each shot.

"I mean, I tried to get aggressive," Lillard said. "I tried to force the action. Both guys staying with me, and then Draymond is lurking behind them. You know, you go up against a wall of defense, sometimes it's three defenders. It's tough because you're not always going to get a quality look, and then when you do get a quality look and don't make it, that just kind of makes it worse."

As the Blazers' offense sputtered in the second half, Lillard tried to take over. But he was only 3-of-12 from the floor in the half, and he scored nine of the Blazers' 33 points as the Warriors roared back from a 13-point halftime deficit.

"Our offense fell apart," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "We missed some shots. Took some tough shots. Didn't move the ball as well. They were scoring, so we were taking it out of the net. Didn't get any transition. So I said at the beginning of the series, to beat Golden State, you've got to be able to score. Scoring 33 in the second half is not going to do it."

Green, Golden State's defensive anchor, said the Warriors want to wear Lillard down over the course of a game.

"That's been our plan, and we've done a pretty good job," Green said. "Like Klay [Thompson] said, we've got one more game to win, and we know Damian can get hot and change an entire series. We just have to stay locked in because we know he's more than capable."

Kerr: Green 'a wrecking ball' in comeback win

Published in Basketball
Sunday, 19 May 2019 00:04

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Golden State Warriors power forward Draymond Green racked up his seventh career postseason triple-double during a 110-99 Game 3 win over the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference finals on Saturday night. Green scored 20 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, dished out 12 assists, made four steals and blocked a shot in one of the most complete all-around games of his career.

"I don't even know what to say about Draymond," Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. "He was like a wrecking ball out there. He was just destroying everything in his path. The pace that he was generating was incredible, and it just seemed like he never got tired. ... It's one of the best games I've ever seen Draymond play."

Green set the tone for a Warriors team that fell into an 18-point hole in the first half and was down 14 with 8:08 left in the third quarter. His ability to push the tempo and get the rest of his teammates to feed off his energy propelled the Warriors to a victory that leaves them just one win shy of earning their fifth straight NBA Finals appearance, something that hasn't been done since the 1960s Boston Celtics.

"I mean, his stat line's ridiculous," Warriors swingman Klay Thompson said. "Four steals, doing it on both ends, plus-16. But it's nothing new. I've seen him do it for seven years. ... He makes us go, especially when we push that pace. I'm proud of Dray, and he's not satisfied."

Green, who has long been considered the emotional engine of the Warriors during their dynastic run over the past five years, made an interesting acknowledgement on Saturday night regarding just how important it has been for him to keep that emotional fire in check over the past few weeks.

"My teammates always tell me, 'We follow your body language,'" Green said.

After picking up four technical fouls early in the postseason, Green said he was able to refocus on staying away from having bad confrontations with officials. Seven technical fouls in the postseason earn an automatic one-game suspension, something Green knows he can't afford, especially as the Warriors try to continue winning without injured stars Kevin Durant (calf) and DeMarcus Cousins (quad).

"I think it definitely helps the energy of the guys," Green said of keeping his negative interactions with the officials in check. "I still like to pick and choose my spots. Sometimes I may take a tech, but that's more mindful than just getting a tech. Sometimes I know like, 'All right, I need an energy burst, maybe I'll take one.'

"But sometimes I'm not mindful and I'll get a tech, and that will just kill the energy of our team. I've been really focused and locked in on that, and I realized I got to a point where I was doing more crying than playing. I'm sure it was disgusting to watch because I felt disgusting playing that way, and I just wanted to lock back in on the game."

Green credited his mom, Mary Babers-Green, and his fiancée, Hazel Renee, with being able to help him direct his energy elsewhere on the floor instead of getting in combative arguments with the officials.

"I understand that officials aren't perfect, and I still have conversations with them now when they miss a call, but it's completely different conversations. You know, my mom has been really big [in helping me]. My fiancée has been really big [with] just talking to me about that and just telling me to stay locked in on the game. I also have some little ones at the house that's enjoying watching me play. I don't necessarily want them to see that. So just try to be more mindful of it."

It's a change Kerr has been happy to see.

"He's playing with force," Kerr said. "He's playing with discipline, he's playing under control. He's not letting anything bother him -- officiating, bad shots, turnovers -- he's just moving on to the next play. So from that standpoint, it's as good as he's ever been."

Green's impact on every aspect of the game has been felt by every player on the floor. Saturday's first half marked the fourth time this postseason that Green had at least 10 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in a single half, the most by any player, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

"Watching him on defense, I mean, it's incredible," Blazers big man Meyers Leonard said. "His reads, his communication, his weakside defense, blocking shots, steals -- it's pretty impressive. Not only that, but he's a playmaker on the other end, as well. He knows who to get the ball and when to get them the ball ... He's a winner. I mean, point blank, he gets it done. He brings it every single night."

Now Green and the Warriors hope they can keep their momentum going and close out the Blazers on Monday night. To do so, Warriors star Stephen Curry and the rest of his teammates are banking on Green continuing his high level of play.

"It's like he's got eight eyeballs," Curry said. "He sees everything and kind of knows what to say at the right time ... He's just observant of everything and has just a high basketball IQ. That's just, obviously, his experience, but the fact that he's so versatile that he can do a lot of different stuff and knows how to help a team win."

ESPN's Tim MacMahon contributed to this report.

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