Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr admitted that forward Draymond Green crossed a line Saturday night when he was taken out of the game in the final seconds of a 102-100 loss against Charlotte Hornets.
The wild sequence that led to Green’s expulsion began with 9.3 seconds left to play when the Warriors led 100-98 and Warriors guard Brad Wanamaker intercepted a bouncing ball from Hornets guard LaMelo Ball. After the Hornets’ forward Gordon Hayward pushed the ball against the boards and fell to the ground, Green Hayward appeared to move quickly toward the bouncing ball. The Hornets took another timeout.
Green started arguing with the officials, quickly committed two technical fouls and threw the ball, giving the Hornets two free throws and the ball. Charlotte’s guard Terry Rozier stepped to the line and hit both free throws to make it 100.
Seconds later, Rosier fired a corner kick into the net to give the Hornets the victory.
He crossed the line, Kerr said of Greene. That’s the important thing. We love his passion and energy. We wouldn’t be this team without him, but that doesn’t give him the right to cross that line, and he knows it.
Team captain Mark Davis explained Green’s ejection through a pool reporter.
His first technical evaluation came when he cursed at his opponent, Davis said. He received the first technical foul for verbally taunting an opponent. He then began shouting insults at the match official and received his [second] technical foul, which was regularly penalised with an ejection.
Kerr said he didn’t have time to ask for an explanation in the heat because the Warriors were in a hurry to test Juan Toscano-Anderson in the game to replace Green.
But what irked Kerr and the Warriors’ staff was happening in the sequence leading up to the ball jump. Kerr said he asked for a timeout before Ball pinned Wanamaker for a jump ball.
Kerr was talking about the last few seconds. But if you want to get straight to the point, it’s very hard to call a stray ball that becomes a bouncing ball for which they get a time out. Especially since I wanted to call a timeout in the same situation where Brad had the ball on top of the key when they bounced it right in front of him.
Same thing happened there, but the ball started rolling when I wanted to ask for a time out. And then look at the replay after the game, it’s a ball, the ball bounces on the ground, Draymond dives after it, in my estimation it should be another bounce off the ball.
Davis said officials believe the connection occurred before Kerr asked for leave. Wanamaker, for his part, admitted that he hadn’t heard Kerr call a timeout, but he wasn’t sure how the sequence went.
LaMelo ties up Brad before Kerr calls a time out, Davis said. The video that followed the match confirmed that this decision had been correctly judged.
The Warriors disagreed with this decision, but it was a point Green was making. Warriors forward Eric Paschall said that when the team returned to the locker room after the game, Green took the blame for two late technical fouls.
He said it was his fault, Mr. Paschall said. And he took matters into his own hands, as he always does, like a leader. We always wave Dray, no matter what. Great guy, great competitor, so it’s all good. … what happens in the NBA. We’re just going to learn from it and try to come back and win next time. A great leader and a great comrade.
Although Green was respected by his Warriors teammates and coaches, Kerr was clearly frustrated by Green’s inability to control his emotions at the end of the game. Green is the league’s all-time leader in technical fouls, as he fiercely resists various calls from officials or what opponents say. But Kerr has said several times over the years that he thinks the Greens know when not to cross the line.
Green went over the top on Saturday, resulting in a defeat that could have been the Warriors’ most impressive win of the season. Star goalie Stephen Curry (ill) was replaced late in the game and centers James Wiseman (wrist) and Kevon Looney (ankle) remained out of the game.
Draymond can’t do that, Kerr said. He knows that. He made a terrible mistake by setting himself up and giving them the chance to take two free throws and tie the game. … As a coach, it’s my job to communicate with him and the team. We have and we will continue to do so.
Davis stated that the Hornets had asked for a time out before Green was ejected and before Green hooked Hayward, as the group felt that the Hornets had asked for a time out in a timely manner.
P.J. Washington called a timeout and Gordon Hayward had clear and exclusive possession of the ball, Davis said. Generally speaking, Charlotte was given time off. The video check after the game confirms this decision.
Despite Kerr’s frustration with Green’s actions, Green’s teammates expressed similar sentiments towards their captain after the game.
He’s been in this league long enough, Warriors’ guard Damion Lee said. He knows what is right and what is wrong. And no matter what, day after day, I’m still riding the day. Through good times and bad, I will always ride with Draymond. … It doesn’t matter if I’m a warrior or not. He’s my friend. He’s a veteran of mine. And I always go with the day.
In addition to Green’s technical foul, Kerr spoke with sadness that his undermanned team couldn’t close the door after fighting so hard all night without Curry.
It’s obvious grief, Mr. Kerr said. They couldn’t be stronger. That’s two tough losses in a row. My job is to organize and emotionally prepare the team for the New York game. We’ll keep moving forward. That’s what you do. The NBA season is full of ups and downs, and it’s clearly a very difficult season. But you have to get ready for the next game.
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