The quick reversal does not come as a surprise given that Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the game that Ben Taylor, the game’s crew chief, admitted at halftime that second-year official John Butler thought Green was yelling at him and made a mistake by giving the forward his second technical foul. Green was actually yelling at teammate James Wiseman for not being in what he thought was the right position on the floor, but Butler got confused and ejected the veteran forward.
Green, who picked up his first technical of the game with 4 minutes, 2 seconds left in the first quarter after arguing too long with the officials, received his second with 1:04 left in the second quarter after turning the ball over on a pass directed to Wiseman.
On his way back down the floor, Green’s voice boomed through a near-empty Chase Center as he appeared to air out his frustration at the rookie. When the whistle was blown and Green was assessed his second technical, Kerr and several members of his staff tried to explain to the officiating crew that the ire was directed at the rookie center. Green pointed to Wiseman and tried to explain what had happened as Warriors guard Stephen Curry pleaded the case as well before Green ultimately left the floor.
But after listening to Green bark at various points throughout the night, hearing his frustration one more time caused Butler to mistakenly blow his whistle.
“At halftime Ben Taylor came out and told me that it was a mistake,” Kerr said after the game. “That John Butler didn’t realize that Draymond was yelling at his teammate. He thought he was yelling at him.”
Speaking to a pool reporter after the game, Taylor said the technical was assessed for “profanity that was deemed to be directed at the official.” Taylor said they did not consider rescinding the foul after hearing the team’s explanation.
For his part, Green was surprised that the officials didn’t overturn the call.
“I’m just a bit confused,” Green told The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears. “Officials can meet and make a decision on any call throughout the game, but when it comes to a technical that was clearly the wrong call, due to an official assuming I was talking to him when in fact I wasn’t, that can’t be overturned? Maybe it’s time to take a look at that rule. I would love clarity on why that’s the rule, if in fact it is a rule.”
Curry also wanted to know whether officials could review an ejection in the future under similar circumstances.
“It’s pretty self-explanatory,” Curry said of the questionable second technical. “He’s been very vocal with James. I know he had already gotten a tech early in the game and obviously mindful of that, he was just talking to his teammate. The refs got confused. And I don’t know what the rules are in that situation when it’s pretty clear who he was talking to, and I don’t know if you can take it back in the moment, but it was pretty glaring that he was talking to his own teammate and kind of unfortunate that it got confused, so move on.”
Green has repeatedly praised Wiseman for the talent he has shown, but his propensity for getting upset at the rookie has been clear at times. The same kind of exchange happened after a Green turnover in Wednesday night’s win over the San Antonio Spurs; Green yelled at Wiseman that he wasn’t in the right position on the floor.
Wiseman acknowledged after Thursday’s game that he “messed up on the play” that led to the Green turnover. Like many inside the Warriors’ locker room, he was surprised Green was ejected.
“Really just because I was trying to get a post-up, but [Green] threw it too early,” Wiseman said. “And just one of those moments where he was like ‘Catch the ball!’ or something like that. But that’s all really. I don’t understand the situation, like why the ref did that, but I guess it’s basketball. … That was a weird moment.”