The Warriors started the second half of their 118-110 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday at Chase Center in a deep hole, and Draymond Green tried to dig his team out.
But the walls ended up giving in to an overzealous Green.
Already in possession of a technical foul, Green’s antics in the third quarter led to a second technical foul and a final ejection.
Green tried to light a fire under the Warriors in the third quarter. First, he committed an offensive foul on Cavs center Jarrett Allen and let it out all over the court. Then he took Donovan Mitchell’s pocket and fouled the All-Star guard as they fought for the loose ball.
But Green went too far when he pushed Mitchell out of bounds on a Caris LeVert layup. Mitchell didn’t take kindly to this, charging at Green as they returned to the field.
A lengthy replay review led officials to evaluate a retroactive technical to Green for Mitchell’s shoulder toss before the retaliation.
Cavaliers coach JB Bickerstaff loved what he saw from his players.
“It’s our guys defending and protecting themselves,” Bickerstaff told reporters after the game. “There was a play before where Donovan got hit in the back, and again, we talked about it, we’re not going to back down from anybody. So I’m proud of our guys for defending, but again , not letting him turn the tide of the game and get caught up in something we didn’t need to be caught in and allow them to get away.
“But it was premeditated for their team to rally. We felt that building the whole third quarter. I thought it could have been nipped in the bud a little bit earlier, but it is what it is and We’re moving on.”
LeVert, who scored as Green knocked Mitchell out of bounds, told reporters he didn’t see everything that happened but was pleased with his team’s reaction.
The Warriors trailed by 16 early in the third quarter, but won the period 31-16, cutting the Cavs’ lead to one point early in the fourth.
“Everyone on the court is super competitive, so there was a lot of barking,” LeVert told reporters. “I don’t know if we handled it the right way at first. They kind of ran away after that. But we calmed down. We got back to what we were doing, and I think that’s what I was most proud of. “In the fourth quarter, we took over and did what we were doing earlier in the game. In the third quarter we got a little carried away and let them run. “
Any momentum Green created in the third quarter was lost in the fourth quarter as the Cavaliers pulled away for their second win over the Warriors in a week.
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