Golden State forward Draymond Green was ejected for an apparent stamp on the chest of Sacramento forward Domantas Sabonis in the Warriors’ Game 2 loss to the Kings in the NBA playoffs on Monday.
In the fourth quarter of the game – which the Kings eventually won 114-106 to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series – Sabonis fell to the ground after a coming together and appeared to wrap his arms around Green’s leg.
As the Warriors ran in the opposite direction down the court with the ball, Green appeared to stamp on Sabonis’ chest, with the Lithuanian left writhing on the ground in a significant amount of discomfort.
After a lengthy review by the officials – which Sabonis spent the majority laying on the court receiving treatment – the Kings big man was handed a technical foul for holding Green’s leg while Green was given a flagrant 2 foul, resulting in an automatic ejection.
In an already hostile atmosphere at Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center, Green was the subject of jeers from the Kings faithful; the 33-year-old enflamed those emotions by cupping his hand to his ear, waving his hands and standing on a chair.
Green defended himself after the contest, pointing to an incident in Game 1 of the series on Saturday involving Sacramento’s Malik Monk which he believed was similar.
“My leg got grabbed. The second time in two nights with the referees just watching,” he told reporters.
“I got to land my foot somewhere and I am not the most flexible person, so it’s not stretching that far. I can only step so far and pulling my leg away, so it is what it is.”
When asked what the referees had told him, Green said: “The explanation was I stomped too hard. It was Monk last game so either you’re going to stop it.
“(Referee) John Goble was looking at Monk hold my leg the last game and he just let it go, and Zach (Zarba) was clearly watching my leg get held this game and let it go, so I guess ankle grabbing is okay.”
Green posted on his Instagram story later a photo of the incident with the caption: “Nothing wrong here. Solid basketball play!!”
Sabonis himself downplayed the incident after the victory in which he racked up 24 points and nine rebounds.
“We’re both fighting for the rebound,” Sabonis said in his postgame interview on TNT. “We fell on each other. Stuff happens. It’s basketball. We’ve got to move on to the next play.”
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Sabonis underwent X-rays on his ribs and lungs to determine if the stamp had caused any serious injuries; Wojnarowski later tweeted that those scans had come back negative.
The incident came during what was a pulsating Game 2 of the series between the two California teams in front of a raucous crowd in Sacramento.
Having won its first playoff game in 17 years in the opening game of the series, it got even better for the Kings on Monday night behind Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox – who pitched in 24 points, five rebounds and nine assists.
Kings guard Monk added 18 points off the bench as the reigning champion Warriors struggled to cope with the intensity of Sacramento.
Warriors stars Steph Curry and Andrew Wiggins scored 28 points and 22 points respectively, but it wasn’t enough to overcome 20 turnovers and foul trouble.
The result means that Golden State have fallen into a 0-2 hole in a playoff series for the first time since 2007.
Game 3 will take place at the Warriors’ Chase Center on Thursday.