SAN FRANCISCO — Draymond Green often finds he’s living on the edge of ejection. Unapologetically so.
The Celtics have taken notice, and they spoke out about it after the Warriors’ blowout win in Game 2 on Sunday.
Green was at his peak intensity from first tip, literally — he smothered Al Horford once he took the ball from Marcus Smart, grabbing the rock to force a jump ball. Boston took possession and Smart threw the ball out of bounds for their first of 19 turnovers.
That intensity inspired his teammates and fueled a stunning defensive performance in the Warriors’ 107-88 win, but it also raised eyebrows on the Boston bench who thought his actions might’ve warranted a double-technical foul.
Green earned a technical foul late in the first quarter of the Warriors’ Game 2 win after a scuffle with Grant Williams, prompted when the pair got entangled and Williams was called for a personal foul. He could have earned a second one and ejection minutes later on a dust-up with Jaylen Brown after Green fouled him on a 3-point attempt.
Officials and players had to separate the two. But no technicals were issued.
“No, I was not surprised there was a double technical not called,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said. “Not surprised at all. Due to the circumstances.”
Brown said Green “tried to pull my pants down” during the scuffle, and wondered why he wasn’t issued another call.
“I feel like that was an illegal play,” Brown said. “I feel like they could have called it, but they let it go in terms of a technical either way.”
Green has often flirted with ejection. He has four technical fouls in the playoffs so far — three more will earn him an automatic suspension. But not once has he earned a double-tech and ejection in a game in these playoffs, though he’s often caught up in moments that may justify a second. Green pays no mind the the line he might cross.
“So with the first tech, it is what it is,” Green said. “That’s not going to stop me from being aggressive or doing what I do on the basketball court. Just got to live with the results.”
Green already has a Flagrant 1 foul charged against him from the semifinals against Memphis, and said then that living in the suspension danger zone would never change his style of play. When he’s on, he’s all in. And Green was in his zone.
The stat sheet may not stand out — he had nine points, seven assists and five rebounds with a block, a steal and only one turnover. But his fingerprints his were all over an amplified Warriors defense that held Game 1 heroes such as Al Horford, Derrick White and Marcus Smart to a combined 2-for-7 from 3 (Horford did n’t shoot a single 3-pointer and Smart went 0-for-3).
Green extinguished Brown’s scorching start — he was 4-for-9 with 3 3-pointers in the first quarter — and set the tone for a high-intensity defensive effort that answered calls for concern over their fourth-quarter collapse and poor perimeter defense in Game 1’s loss.
Steph Curry said he could tell “five minutes after Game 1” that Green would be back for Sunday’s game with a vengeance.
“I think we talk about it, some of that stuff doesn’t necessarily — or doesn’t always show up in the stat sheet in terms of points, rebounds, assists, just that wow factor, but you feel him in his presence and the other team feels his presence and his intensity, and that is contagious for all of us. It was great to see,” he said.
Green said he took personal responsibility for sending a message to his team with his defensive fire — even if it pushes him to the very edge.