The Golden State Warriors took a hard-fought Game 1 win over the Memphis Grizzlies in the second round of the playoffs and did it mostly without their best defender. Draymond Green was suspended a minute left in the second quarter for fouling Brandon Clarke.
Draymond swiped across Clarke's body and grazed Clarke's face while getting a hold of his jersey. This led to Clarke being dragged to the floor and Draymond getting ejected. The call has been criticized widely by fans and Draymond didn't wait long to get his thoughts out.
Green recorded an episode of his podcast immediately after the game and addressed the situation.
"Now lets talk about what everyone's really here for, what everyone wants to talk about, which is me getting ejected for ... I'm not quite sure for what, but for a foul," Green said. "Very interesting one. You know, one thing about the foul is, I actually tried to hold [Brandon Clarke] up and well, I wasn't told anything because I left the court, but guys were told I was ejected for throwing him down, which is very interesting because even when he hit the ground, I still was holding his jersey up. But at this point, I kind of expect things like that, like I've been suspended from Game 5 of the NBA Finals. You think for one second I don't believe I would get kicked out of Game 1 of the second round? Not surprising to me at all. Not one bit." (h/t NBC Sports)
Draymond goes in-depth about the call, discussing what happened as the crew chief Scott Foster and the other referees reviewed the play for a little too long, saying he was an idiot to have not considered them giving him a possible Flagrant 1 for what he did.
"When they reviewed the foul for as long as they reviewed it, I said to myself 'Hmm, I wonder what they could be deciding that's possibly going to take this long?,' " Green said. "I'm actually dumb enough to think I wasn't going to get a Flagrant 1. Talk about an idiot. You want to call anyone an idiot, look no further than Draymond Green himself.
Green didn't suspect that his foul was going to get the penalty it ultimately received. In the moment, the former Defensive Player of the Year considered taunting the crowd that was yelling 'throw him out', as he believed a foul like that would never cause a player to get thrown from a playoff game.
"Because I was literally sitting there like ... you know what's crazy, I was about to start dancing to the crowd saying 'Kick him out, kick him out' to taunt them because it's like 'Kick him out for that?' So I was about to start dancing. And when I was literally starting to edge up off the scorer's table, something said to me 'But it's you involved in this play, Draymond. So because it's you involved in this play, you probably shouldn't dance because you should probably always expect the unexpected.' And so the little birdie that sits on my shoulder nowadays told me 'Hmm, just wait a second. Don't get up and dance and make fun of them because if you get up and make fun of them, sure enough, if you're then not expecting the unexpected, very soon they'll be able to make fun of you.'
However, even Green ultimately realized that reputations cause the most fouls in the NBA.
"And so I sat there. And then the official turned. He had a hard time telling [us what happened]. He said 'There's going to be a Flagrant...' and like, a long pause 'Two.' He didn't even want to say it was going to be a Flagrant 2 which was very interesting to me because, again, I am dumb enough to think that it would not even be a Flagrant 1, that the playoffs are a little tougher and not as soft as the regular season, that you can bump a little and get away with a little more, but we've seen questionable calls in the first round, things that didn't get reviewed. Sometimes I guess it's just a case-by-case thing, it's a reputation thing. I think tonight was probably a reputation thing more so than a hard foul."
This was the kind of call that could have cost the Warriors the game, and it came extremely close to doing so. Jaren Jackson Jr. had a great performance without Draymond on the floor, but the Warriors managed to pull the 117-116 win off on the final play of the game.
Ultimately, the Warriors and Green will appeal the foul from tonight and hopefully get it rescinded. With the public outcry over this particular ejection, there is a solid chance the NBA actually takes a deeper look into it.