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Draymond Green's Controversial Ejection in Warriors' Game 1 Win Explained by NBA Ref

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 2, 2022

AP Photo/Brandon Dill

Referee Kane Fitzgerald addressed Draymond Green's ejection from the Golden State Warriors' 117-116 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2022 NBA playoffs on Sunday.

Fitzgerald said Green made "unnecessary and excessive" contact on Brandon Clarke, which led to the flagrant-2 foul.

Kyle Goon @kylegoon

Draymond pool report: <a href="https://t.co/tILPgR4mbe">pic.twitter.com/tILPgR4mbe</a>

This is what led Green to get an early trip back to the locker room:

ESPN @espn

Draymond Green was ejected for this flagrant 2 foul. <a href="https://t.co/QPYnODEXt1">pic.twitter.com/QPYnODEXt1</a>

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr discussed the ruling and told reporters he was "surprised" the play was ultimately ruled a flagrant-2:

Warriors on NBCS @NBCSWarriors

The explanation Kerr received from officials on Draymond's ejection:<br><br>"He hit him in the face and threw him to the ground" <a href="https://t.co/CW6XbaMjAW">pic.twitter.com/CW6XbaMjAW</a>

While Fitzgerald's comments represent a level of accountability and transparency from the officiating crew, the explanation is unlikely to provide much solace for those who questioned whether Green's actions rose to the level of an immediate ejection.

Golden State trailed 54-53 with 1:18 left in the first half when he was tossed. The Warriors had to forge ahead without their best defender, which clearly put the Grizzlies in an advantageous position.

Thanks to 31 points from Jordan Poole, the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference managed to wrest home-court advantage away from Memphis.

The fact that the Warriors won will likely push Green's ejection onto the back burner a bit.

If they had lost, it might've been the 2016 NBA Finals all over again, when Green's suspension helped turn the tide of the series in the Cleveland Cavaliers' favor. That remains a bit of a sore point for the four-time All-Star.

Instead, Golden State will be riding high heading into Game 2.

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