When Draymond Green was called for a technical foul in the third quarter, most observers thought it was his second of the night, which would have warranted an automatic ejection. So why was Green allowed to keep playing? (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
CLEVELAND – What had already been a wild Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers took an even crazier turn when Draymond Green, Golden State’s do-it-all forward, was hit with what appeared to be his second technical foul of the game with 6:18 remaining in the third quarter of Cleveland’s 137-117 win by referee Marc Davis.
Instead, it just turned out to be the most confusing moment for the game’s officiating crew in what was a poor performance from them from start to finish.
Rather than it being Green’s second technical foul – as it was listed on the stat sheet, and had been told to all of Quicken Loans Arena by the public address announcer – the officials huddled and determined that it was, in fact, his first.
“When the technical foul was called on Draymond Green, we reported it to the [scorers] table,” Crew Chief Mike Callahan told a pool reporter after the game. “The table informed us it was his second technical foul, and [that he was] ejected.
“We informed the table that it was not his second technical foul.”
It turned out that the first technical that had been called on Green – which came at 1:55 of the first quarter, after Green had reacted to a foul called on him by referee John Goble for elbowing Iman Shumpert in the face following a jump ball – was, at least according to Goble, not actually called on Green in the first place.
Instead, he’d called it on Warriors Coach Steve Kerr.
“After calling the loose ball foul on Draymond Green, I noticed the reaction by Coach Kerr and then assessed the technical foul,” Goble told the pool reporter. “In the moment, I thought I had verbalized to the table that the technical foul was on Coach Kerr.
“After looking at the video, I did not verbalize to the table, and looking at the video I should have done a better job of making sure that the table knew the technical foul was on Coach Kerr.”
For several minutes, however, the only people who seemed to know that in the entire arena were the three officials.
“I thought they called it on Draymond,” Kerr said. “I thought I deserved it, but I thought I heard the announcer say, the PA announcer say that it was on Draymond.”
That’s because Kerr did hear it, and the announcer did announce the technical for Green. And so, when the second one was announced, a crowd already in a celebratory mood inside Quicken Loans Arena thanks to a scintillating offensive performance from the Cavaliers realized what was happening and erupted in celebration.
The Ray Charles classic, “Hit The Road Jack” was blaring from the arena’s speakers, and the fans were dancing as Green – their most loathed opposing player – held his arms aloft and urged the crowd on.
But then, as the officials huddled, Green stayed on the court. And then, without announcing anything, Green remained in the game, and play resumed – leaving everyone who wasn’t on the court confused as to what had actually taken place.
“They told me to keep playing,” Green said. “As I asked him, he told me to keep playing.
“So I don’t know. It’s crazy to think that he thought that was my second technical foul and I would get a technical foul for that, but whatever.”
So Green did keep playing. And in a game filled with insane moments, this one wound up topping them all.