No one really expected the Golden State Warriors to beat the LA Clippers on Tuesday night.

Not only were the defending champions playing without both Steph Curry and Andrew Wiggins on the second leg of a back-to-back, but the Clippers entered at full-strength, Ty Lue’s rotation reloaded after bringing in Eric Gordon, Mason Plumlee and Bones Hyland at the trade deadline. Maybe most indicative of Golden State’s anticipated struggles to enter the All-Star break on a high note? Kawhi Leonard was back in LA’s lineup, fresh as can be after last taking the floor nearly a week ago.

The Warriors put up a spirited fight, but ultimately couldn’t keep pace with a peak Leonard and the reloaded Clippers, falling 134-124. The loss sends Golden State into midseason vacation back at .500, ninth in the Western Conference at 29-29—and just one game up on the 12th-place Oklahoma City Thunder in the standings.

Asked on the postgame podium if his team’s disappointing season can be chalked up to a “championship hangover,” Draymond Green immediately pushed back, pinpointing defensive intensity as justification behind the Warriors’ labors.

“I don’t think it’s a championship hangover. It’s a will to want to defend,” he said. “You’re not hungover at .500, 60 games into the season. You’re a loser if you’re still hungover at that point, so there’s no hangover. It’s the will to defend, stop and guard your man, sink in help and trap the box, rotate. Defense is all one to two steps extra. I’ma take that extra step to get there or I’m not. That’s all will, and we don’t have that as a team.”

Golden State’s defensive rating against the Clippers was a sky-high 139.6, its worst in a game this season, per The Warriors rank 19th in defensive efficiency overall, their 118.9 defensive rating away from home third-highest in the NBA.

Green, no surprise, remains one of basketball’s most impactful defenders despite the Dubs’ below-average performance on that side of the ball. Golden State allows a whopping 10.1 fewer points per 100 possessions when he’s on the floor, in the 99th percentile among players league-wide, per Cleaning The Glass.

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Even if Green isn’t quite the all-time defender he was a few years ago, he’s definitely not the Warriors’ problem defensively. Even so, he’s taking blame for Golden State’s “failing” defense.

“I’m just as much of a culprit as anyone else. I’m not gonna point the finger at anyone or point blame,” Green said. “If you’re a leader of something and you’re failing at it it’s your fault, you don’t need to look any further.”

The Warriors have 24 games left in the regular season, and are right in the thick of a historically crowded Western Conference playoff race.

If Golden State doesn’t start defending with the vigor that produced a championship just last June, jumpstarting its inconsistent offense in the process, Green is fully aware of the potential consequences—ones that could call this core’s long-term viability into question.

“It’s now or never. We’re at .500 at the break, middle-of-the-pack team with those middle-of-the-pack stats,” he said. “So you got to come out the break and win and do it at a high level, or you go home in the beginning of April.”

Rest assured the Dubs’ emotional leader is relaying that same message to his teammates before getting some much-needed rest and relaxation.