Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green was ejected during the third quarter of their 119-116 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday. Green appeared to wrestle for post position against Suns big man Jusuf Nurkic near the corner, swung and nailed Nurkic in the face with a wild right arm. Nurkic fell into a heap and remained on the ground for about a minute.
Officials stopped the game for review but it didn’t take long. Green was ejected and didn’t even contest it. He ran straight to the locker room. The NBA is expected to evaluate the situation within the next 24 hours and likely grant Green another suspension.
After the game, Green apologized to Nurkic. He said it was unintentional and that he was just trying to sell a bug by waving his arms.
“You know, I’m not one to apologize for things I meant to do, but I apologize to Joseph. ‘Cause I wasn’t going to hit him,” Green said. “I sell calls with my arm.”
Green has a history of suspensions. In November, he was sidelined for five league games after grabbing Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert around the neck in an “unsportsmanlike and dangerous manner.” It was the fifth suspension of his career.
What does this mean for the Warriors?
And at a sensitive moment in their season, they may once again be without their best defender and emotional engine for a series of games. Green has been ejected three times this season and was suspended for five more games after choking Gobert. He also missed the first two games of the season with a sprained ankle and another night due to a personal matter.
So, that’s already 11 of the first 23 games in which Green has missed entirely or been ejected while the competitive portion has yet to be decided. His absence has been fatal for a team that can’t get any sustained rhythm. This is only expected to continue after the league’s latest review. -Anthony Slater, Warriors writer
Could Green face another suspension?
And based on the NBA’s recent reason for its five-game suspension, Green is eyeing at least five more games. So, the Warriors will have another stretch without their best defenseman and key reliever.
However, the timing works for Golden State on the court as Green’s absence will mean more time for Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Mudiay. The Warriors are at a crossroads with their championship core, having not performed at the level expected. The young players, including rookie Brandin Podzemski, have been pressuring coach Steve Kerr to play with them in their production. Kerr even benched Andrew Wiggins and Kevon Looney to start the second half on Tuesday.
With no green, there will be about 30 minutes to redistribute. This could also be good news for rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis, the third big man on the roster. — Marcus Thompson II, Bay Area senior columnist
(Photo: Mark J. Rebelas/USA Today)
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