It was confusing when it happened:
Just before halftime of the Warriors’ eventual loss to the Knicks, Draymond Green was ejected for a second technical. The Warriors were running back on defense, Green was barking out instructions, and suddenly referee John Butler T’d him up (Green already had one). Green was confused, he was not yelling at the referee.
After halftime, Steve Kerr said the lead official came and told him the ejection had been a mistake. Via Ali Thanawalla at NBC Sports Bay Area:
Steve Kerr said NBA ref Ben Taylor told him at halftime that officials made a "mistake" when they ejected Draymond Green. pic.twitter.com/JiuulXztLd
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) January 22, 2021
“At halftime, Ben Taylor came out and told me that it was a mistake, that John Butler didn’t realize Draymond was yelling at his teammate He thought he was yelling at him.”
POOL REPORT ON SECOND TECHNICAL FOUL WITH 1:04 REMAINING TO PLAY IN THE SECOND QUARTER OF THE NEW YORK KNICKS/GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS GAME: pic.twitter.com/dVgsOHQ2KK
— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) January 22, 2021
Two quick thoughts here:
1) That did not appear worthy of an ejection to begin with — Green was not demonstrative, yelling while looking at the referee, or trying to show him up. I understand officials hear it from coaches and players all game long, but tolerating a certain amount of that (it’s an emotional game) and knowing where to draw the line is part of the job. Some referees need a thicker skin and to pick their spots with the “respect for the game” technicals. This did not rise to the occasion.
2) Clearly the officials talked at halftime and concluded that Green was yelling at a teammate (James Wiseman), not the referee in question, and apologized for the mistake. That’s a good thing. Why couldn’t they have that talk on the court at the time? Why did cooler heads not prevail before the Warriors’ second-best player and critical piece on both ends of the court was sent to the locker room, changing the game? (That’s not to say the Warriors would have won with Green, the team was not playing as sharp as the Knicks, but their chances of a comeback dropped fast without Green.) His fellow officials can’t just back their guy in the moment if they believe he is making a mistake. It’s okay to “pick up the flag” and say there was no foul.
Regardless, the Knicks still earned a quality 119-104 win behind 28 points from RJ Barrett.