Draymond Green shouldn’t have been ejected late in the first half of the Warriors’ game against the New York Knicks on Thursday night at Chase Center.
Following the Warriors’ 119-104 loss, coach Steve Kerr revealed what the referees told him at halftime, shortly after they tossed Green.
“At halftime, Ben Taylor came out and told me that it was a mistake, that John Butler didn’t realize Draymond was yelling at his teammate,” Kerr told reporters on a video call after the game. “He thought he was yelling at him.”
Green was ejected with just over a minute remaining in the first half. Following a turnover on an attempted entry pass to James Wiseman, Green yelled at the rookie center as the Warriors got back on defense. He was loud enough that the screaming to be heard through the NBC Sports Bay Area broadcast.
Butler clearly thought Green was yelling at him and assessed him a second technical foul, resulting in his automatic ejection.
The Warriors weren’t playing particularly well and trailed the Knicks 63-57 at halftime, but losing Green for the second half effectively ended any chance they had of winning the game. He makes that big of a difference for the team.
“Obviously, Draymond is one of our best and most impactful players, so it hurt us, but we were playing very poorly to that point anyway,” Kerr told reporters. “I’m not going to talk about the officiating, I’m going to talk about our poor play. We just foul constantly. We’re dead last in the league in fouls, I think, in free throw attempts allowed. And you can’t win games when you foul, foul, foul. You’re constantly having to bring the ball up out of the net after a team is shooting free throws.
“You can’t build any rhythm at all. We had four fouls in the first 55 seconds of the fourth quarter, so we are who we are and I obviously have to do a better job. We’re undisciplined and we’ve got to find a way to defend without fouling.”
Andrew Wiggins, who finished with 17 points and nine rebounds in the loss, said the Warriors missed their vocal leader.
“It makes a big difference,” Wiggins told reporters. “Draymond is a huge part of this team on both sides of the floor. His presence, even on the bench is huge. We missed him, obviously, tonight.”
The league, once it reviews the film of the game, likely will rescind the second technical assessed to Green. But that doesn’t lessen the sting of him missing the second half Thursday night.