Draymond Green was already playing with a technical foul — basically standard operating procedure for him these days — when he went to work getting under Donovan Mitchell’s skin in the third quarter, trying to spark a Warriors comeback .
However, things got serious in the third quarter when Caris LeVert made a layup giving Cleveland a 10 lead, and on the play, Green pushed Mitchell to first. There was no call. Green brought the ball up the court and Mitchell ran straight at Green and gave him a good check in hockey, which remains illegal in basketball. During the ensuing scuffle and afterward, Mitchell immediately pointed to the other end of the field and told the referees to check the video of what happened to call the play.
After a long review, the referees ruled in favor of Mitchell and gave the Cavaliers guard a common foul, but Green was awarded a second technical foul and was ejected.
Steve Kerr was baffled by the call after the game.
“I’ve never heard of this rule, but apparently you can retroactively overturn a technical issue on two previous games upon review,” Kerr said at the podium. “There are a lot of pieces I wish I could go back to three years ago. It was weird.
No, that wasn’t the case. Green flirted with the brink of ejection and was called out for it, and shortly after the play he felt that way because of the fight and criticism. Mitchell’s push was a low blow that bordered on flagrant and Green didn’t get the benefit of the doubt from the referees. It was not a clear eviction, no doubt, but it was legitimate. Green, Kerr and Warriors fans get this wrong, flirt with the edge and sometimes you lose.
Green’s expulsion did not ignite the team or the fans enough to change the course of the match, a victory for the Cavaliers 118-110 behind 22 from LaVert and 21 from Mitchell.
More worryingly for the Warriors, they’ve had issues with the long, athletic defense of the Cavaliers, who have beaten them twice now (the other loss was to Denver, who also has size but is also just Denver ). The Warriors’ next two games will be at Chase Center against the hot Timberwolves, who are long, athletic and have the best defense in the NBA this season.