In a turbulent game that epitomized the Golden State Warriors' challenging season, forward Draymond Green faced his third ejection of the year during Tuesday's narrow 119-116 defeat against the Phoenix Suns. The ejection came after Green was penalized with a flagrant foul 2 for a head strike on Jusuf Nurkic.
This incident places Green under scrutiny as he anticipates a potential league review and suspension. The game's atmosphere intensified with 8:23 remaining in the third quarter when Green, in an attempt to defend against Nurkic, swung his arm, inadvertently striking Nurkic's head.
Initially trying to fend off Nurkic with his back turned, Green's actions escalated, leading to the flagrant foul decision following a video review. Postgame, Green expressed remorse, stating, "I am not one to apologize for intentional actions, but hitting Jusuf was unintentional.
I was trying to sell the call, and unfortunately, it led to contact." This season marks the most ejections Green has faced, equaling his previous record. His history includes a headlock incident with Rudy Gobert of the Minnesota Timberwolves, resulting in a five-game suspension.
Steve Kerr, the Warriors' head coach, emphasized the team's need for Green's presence on the court, highlighting the importance of maintaining composure. Green, acknowledging Kerr's perspective, insisted that his intention was merely to draw a foul, not to harm.
Nurkic, Vogel Slam Play
Nurkic criticized the play as unsportsmanlike, and Suns coach Frank Vogel condemned it as reckless. Vogel expressed concern for player safety in such scenarios, supporting the officials' and the league's forthcoming decisions.
The Warriors, already facing a challenging season with a 10-13 record, also had to contend with underperforming key players. Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins were benched due to subpar performances, adding pressure on Stephen Curry and younger team members.
Curry stressed the need for collective improvement, emphasizing adaptability in their roles. Thompson, visibly frustrated with his performance, acknowledged his poor play and accepted the decision to be benched. Coach Kerr, facing continuous challenges with the team's dynamics, hinted at significant lineup changes, seeking a more effective strategy.
As the Warriors navigate through a season marked by inconsistency and underachievement, the latest incident with Green adds another layer of complexity. The team's ability to rally and find coherence remains a critical factor in their journey ahead.