The decision to eject Draymond Green from last night’s series opener between the Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies has been criticised by Stephen Curry.
The Warriors held on to win 117-116 in a nail-biting finish but Golden State forward Green was ejected for a flagrant foul shortly before half-time of Game 1.
Green originally was called for a foul on Brandon Clarke with 1:18 left in the second quarter. Officials reviewed the play where Green had hold of Clarke’s jersey after a missed layup. Clarke went down on his stomach, though it appeared Green tried to help hold him up as Clarke hit the court.
Officials took their time reviewing the play as Memphis fans chanted “Throw him out!” Then they determined Green committed a Flagrant 2, sending him to the locker room with six points, four rebounds, three assists and five turnovers in 17 minutes.
Curry was not pleased with the call.
“It’s a tough call, obviously on the road trying to start to start a series and you get a guy like Draymond headed into the locker room, nobody wants to see that, it’s not good for the game,” Curry said. “I don’t think he deserved that obviously. We got a little emotional rise out of it. Trying to stay locked in and deal with the circumstances and give ourselves a chance to win. We obviously did that in the second half, but yeah, that was a tough one.”
Crew Chief Kane Fitzgerald explained the ruling of the Flagrant 2, saying the contact was considered unnecessary and excessive.
“The first part was the wind up and significant contact to the face, and then the pull down from the jersey grab and throw down to the floor to an airborne vulnerable player makes that unnecessary and excessive,” Fitzgerald said in a pool report.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr said after the game that he was surprised by the call. The official explanation was that Green hit Clarke in the face and threw him to the ground on a follow-through.
“We knew that was a tough break that didn’t go our way and we were all kind of shocked by the decision, but we were confident and determined and the guys stayed with it,” Kerr said.
Memphis led 54-53 at the time of the Green foul, and the Grizzlies took a 61-55 lead into half-time.
Curry believes the efforts of fellow guard Jordan Poole were key in the Warriors managing to pick up the win.
“The way he stepped up really helped us,” said the two-time MVP. “He played an amazing floor game tonight. Obviously Klay makes that big shot down the stretch, but I could go down the list of everybody who made huge contributions and we’re going to need that every single game because it’s what it takes at this stage of a playoff run.”
Game 2 between the teams takes place late on Tuesday night.