Draymond Green was a technical foul waiting to happen during Game 2 of the NBA Finals Sunday night.
Green picked up his first tech after pushing Celtics forward Grant Williams midway through the first quarter, and despite walking on hot coals throughout the remainder of the affair, Green remained his usual fiery self, appearing unshaken by the looming threat of another tech — and ejection.
He was chirping back-and-forth with Cs players all night, enmeshing himself in numerous verbal spats, at one point even telling Williams, “You want to be me.”
And those squabbles boiled over into physical dust-ups too, as Green — never one to shy away from contact — made his presence felt with a couple of hard fouls, and one memorable skirmish with Jaylen Brown.
If Green was going to receive a technical foul call, it would’ve been on this play in particular. Green got a little too close to Brown trying to contest a 3-point attempt in the final minute of the first half, and their entanglement sent both men crashing to the hardwood.
Green’s legs though, ended up resting near Brown’s head, a happenstance which came much to Brown’s annoyance. He quickly removed Green’s leg with a shove, but Green took exception, and in the next moment, the two were spouting objections at one another, before both were pulled away from each other by teammates.
“Draymond fouled me on the 3 and put his legs on my head,” Brown reflected on the play.
“I don’t know what I’m supposed to do there, when somebody has their legs on top of your head. And then he tried to pull my pants down. I don’t know what that was about. But that’s what Draymond Green does. He’s going to try to muck the game up, pull you, grab you. He’ll do whatever it takes to win.”
That much is clear just from watching Green play. But did his antics go too far Sunday night? Should he have been assessed another technical foul?
Shannon Sharpe believes so.
“You can’t put your feet on someone’s head,” he said Monday on “Undisputed.”
“Then when he gets his feet off you, you push him in the back. Draymond knew that once he got that first tech, the officials don’t want to give him a second one. He knows, ‘They don’t want to throw me out of the NBA Finals, so I can keep going.’ Anybody else in that situation would’ve gotten a double-technical!”
Skip Bayless agreed with Sharpe that today’s normative officiating would’ve warranted a technical call.
But because of the circumstances, Green avoided a discharge according to Bayless.
Nick Wright said Monday that Green should’ve been ejected for far more infractions than just this one over the course of his career.
“I don’t blame Draymond Green for this — I blame Adam Silver and the league office,” Wright stated.
“Five years ago, the NBA promised the Houston Rockets they were going to get this under control. The Rockets complained that Draymond, come the playoffs, dares the refs to throw him out, and aside from a few rare instances, it’s never happened.”
After the game, Green spoke about his relationship with NBA officials.
“[I wasn’t] at all [concerned about getting a second technical],” Green said. “It’s the NBA Finals. I wear my badge of honor, I’ve earned differential treatment. I enjoy that and embrace that. I’ll never let someone stand over me. I’m a man first. My kids are in the stands. I don’t play those type of games. Whatever happens after that, happens.”
Wright also took umbridge with this response from Green.
“He pays a one technical free throw tax at the beginning of games, and it gives him a license to act like an utter maniac throughout the rest of the games,” Wright said. “I think he flew a little close to the sun with those comments. The referees are going to look at him flaunting the fact that he receives ‘differential treatment.’ You can’t brag about that. Of course he should’ve been thrown out.”
Green’s antics, no matter how controversial, proved pivotal for Golden State, which broke out with a huge run in the third quarter to win 107-88, tying the series at 1-1. Green himself finished with nine points, seven assists, five rebounds and the one technical. He also helped hold Brown to 17 points on 17 shots.
His postgame comments may increase the microscope he’s already under heading into Game 3, but if “differential treatment” equates to more notches in the win column, that’s an exchange Green is more than likely, willing to take.
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