Though Draymond Green shares the spotlight with fellow Golden State Warriors stars Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, he is the unquestioned emotional leader of the team.
When things are going poorly for the Warriors, it's Green who steps up and leads his teammates through the tough times.
However, during Tuesday night's season-opening loss to the Houston Rockets, Green wasn't able to finish the game, missing the entire fourth quarter as the Rockets came from behind to win.
After the game, coach Steve Kerr said none of the other Golden State players had the energy to keep playing at a high level without Green on the court (via Yahoo! Sports):
"We deserved to lose" he said. "We didn't have energy from most of our group. Draymond's injury changed everything for us.
"When we're lacking conditioning like we are right now, you have to have your high energy guys out there. As soon as he went out of the game, things went south for us. We just couldn't get any traction."
The Warriors led by as many as 17 points, but couldn't hold off James Harden, Chris Paul and the Rockets as they lost 122-121 at Oracle Arena, spoiling the night they received their championship rings.
Kerr said the Warriors have some conditioning issues they'll need to address moving forward so they can play their style of basketball for 48 minutes a night - with or without Green (via MercuryNews.com):
“We looked tired,” Kerr said. “I don’t think we’re in good enough shape yet to play against a great 48-minute team. Nobody was cutting to the rim. We were isolating. We weren’t playing our style of basketball.
“It doesn’t matter what it’s because of. We just have to get in better shape. We’ll see how long that takes.”
Losing isn't something the Warriors have grown accustomed to in the past three years, so it's safe to say they'll do what it takes to get back on track soon.
Durant said after the game that the fourth quarter was tough, but he doesn't necessarily think the Warriors are out of shape:
“Maybe we kind of burnt out a little bit. But I think overall, I think our conditioning is pretty good,” Durant said. “Definitely could get better, but just a tough loss.”
The Warriors return to the court on Friday night against the New Orleans Pelicans and then play the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday - both games on the road. It remains to be seen if Green will play, but the Warriors should be able to handle both those teams if they're playing their best basketball.