The first half of Game 1 of the Warriors-Grizzlies series delivered in a lot of ways, as Ja Morant took a starring role for the home team, scoring 18 points in the first two quarters, while the Warriors hung around thanks to another strong effort from Jordan Poole, who had 14 points in the opening half in his return to the bench.
Memphis took a 61-55 lead into the locker room after closing the half on a 7-2 spurt that started with Draymond Green getting tagged with a Flagrant 2 and an ejection for a two-part foul on Grizzlies big man Brandon Clarke.
Draymond Green has been ejected from the game… pic.twitter.com/tk4NBOEHpP
— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) May 1, 2022
On the announcement, Kane Fitzgerald noted that the first part was the wind up and hit to the face he gave Clarke on the initial foul, which Green then compounded by grabbing Clarke by his jersey and pulling him to the ground. On their own, they wouldn’t have been ejection worthy but both were deemed flagrant fouls by the referees, who decided two Flagrant 1’s on one play deserves a Flagrant 2. That naturally was not well received by the Warriors bench — although Green hopped around the court gesturing to the crowd to try and get his squad hyped as he left for the locker room.
Warriors react to Draymond Green’s ejection from Game 1 vs. Grizzlies for Flagrant Foul 2 pic.twitter.com/9BnbcAMv64
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) May 1, 2022
Green will likely feel that this was another instance of his reputation hurting him with the officials, as he doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt on either of his fouls on this play, despite his effort to hold up Clarke after pulling him down initially. Clarke would get fouled again on the next possession, making three of his four attempts, and then the Grizzlies sent the FedEx Forum crowd into a frenzy with this sequence from De’Anthony Melton and Ja Morant.
Melton gets the block on one end, Ja slams it down on the other 😤 pic.twitter.com/6Ac0tSgQ5K
— NBA TV (@NBATV) May 1, 2022
How Golden State adapts in the second half without Green will be fascinating to watch on the defensive end in particular, as his on-off splits illustrated how important he is to them being a top defensive unit in the league. Without him, the Warriors will either have to go much smaller with Andrew Wiggins playing some five at times to play the ultra-switching style they like to employ with Green on the floor or go big and hope Kevon Looney can at least help protect the paint some.