Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Draymond Green ejected less than four minutes into game vs. Magic as Warriors battle for final Play-In spot

The Golden State Warriors need every win they can get to close the season as they battle for a Western Conference postseason berth. Entering Wednesday night, they led the Houston Rockets by a single game for the No. 10 seed — the final Play-In spot. Every game will be magnified down the stretch, and what transpired in the early minutes of their matchup with the Orlando Magic couldn’t have been what the Warriors had in mind.

Less than four minutes into the opening quarter of Wednesday’s game, Warriors forward Draymond Green was ejected after picking up two technical fouls while arguing with official Ray Acosta. Green became heated after a basket by Magic forward Paolo Banchero, as he made his way closer to Acosta and appeared to touch the official’s arm. Green received a technical foul, but continued to argue as he walked toward his bench, which landed him a second technical and automatic ejection.

With the Warriors — who were already without Jonathan Kuminga on Wednesday — needing to win as many games as possible down the stretch, the frustration from Green’s teammates, including Stephen Curry, was evident.

Fortunately for the Warriors, they were able to hold on for a 101-93 win in Orlando, thanks to a dagger 3-pointer from Curry and 23 points from Andrew Wiggins.

Green has now registered 21 ejections in his career, second only to Rasheed Wallace’s 29 for the most in NBA history. In December, Green was suspended for 12 games for a reckless flagrant foul against Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkic. The NBA cited Green’s previous actions in its explanation for the original indefinite suspension.

The Warriors’ surge of winning in January and February coincided with Green’s return, as they became one of the best defensive teams in the league. Green is averaging his most points (8.8) since the 2017-18 season, while pulling down seven rebounds and dishing out six assists per game. He’s also shooting 38.7% from 3-point range, his highest mark since 2015-16. The Warriors’ defensive rating improves by nearly five points per 100 possessions when he’s on the floor.

Golden State will face the Rockets for the final time this season next Thursday, a matchup that could prove pivotal for the Play-In race. With Green still vital to the Warriors on both ends, they’ll hope he can stay on the court for the duration of that one.

Looking for more NBA coverage? John Gonzalez, Bill Reiter, Ashley Nicole Moss and special guests dive deep into the league’s biggest storylines daily on the Beyond the Arc podcast.

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