OAKLAND -- A day after the Warriors' Draymond Green helped spark a comeback win at Portland, coach Mark Jackson was mentioning him in the same sentence as LeBron James.
To Jackson, the only other player who could compare with Green in being able to legitimately guard all five positions was the NBA's reigning Most Valuable Player.
"Those two guys have the size, the strength, the knowledge, the competitive spirit in my opinion to do that," Jackson said of James and Green, who he said was a "genius basketballwise."
"It's a tremendous luxury."
So when starting forward David Lee struggled to guard quicker and rangier Portland players on the pick-and-roll, Jackson benched him in favor of Green. The Warriors went on to rally from an 18-point deficit and win 113-112, with Green neutralizing the Trail Blazers and playing 24 minutes -- the same number as Lee -- before fouling out.
"We were having a problem getting stops," said Green, who energized the team with his defense along with five points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals.
"We were bad, and to be down 11 (at halftime) was kind of uplifting," he said. "We were really bad. Defensively, we were really bad. We missed a lot of shots. We were just bad across the board."
Green said he appreciated and respected that Lee, one of the highest-paid players on the team, neither pouted nor sulked on the bench. Instead, Lee cheered on his teammates and came through when he got back on the floor. His coach noticed that, too.
"David will be the first to tell you it wasn't his best night overall, but the bottom line is when it mattered most, he didn't hold his head down," Jackson said. "He didn't question my decision. He stayed ready. He stayed prepared and made a couple of the biggest plays of the game."
One of those plays included delivering a devastating screen that knocked Portland guard Wesley Matthews off the ball and freed up Stephen Curry to drive down the lane and pass the ball out to Harrison Barnes, who swung it to Klay Thompson for the winning 3-pointer with 11.1 seconds left.
Green, who said Lee's screen was "phenomenal," hoped the Warriors would keep their killer instinct when Orlando plays at Oracle Arena on Tuesday after they beat the Magic on the road 94-81 in December.
"We have to come into our home floor with that same mindset, a mindset to destroy whoever steps on the court," Green said.
"Forty minutes and eight seconds," said Jackson, who was indeed monitoring Curry's minutes.
Curry missed his first five shots and didn't score until 3:21 left in the second quarter before erupting for 37 points. As Curry began heating up, Jackson knew his star guard would need to play more than usual.
"Trying to ride the hot hand in the second half," Jackson said.
"I wanted to give him a breather. Asked him, he said he was fine. That's not the norm. It was a huge game for us."
Curry is expected to continue playing limited minutes -- except when the situation says otherwise -- while his quad slowly makes progress.
"Improving, but when you again take the pounding he took last night, obviously it has its effects," Jackson said. "(Practice) days like today, you want to make sure he comes in and takes care of his body and try to keep him as fresh as possible."
For more on the Warriors, see the Inside the Warriors blog at ibabuzz.com/warriors.
Orlando (19-48) at Warriors (42-26), 7:30 p.m. CSNBA