Sunday’s Game 1 between the Warriors and Grizzlies in Memphis took some wild turns over the course of 48 minutes, with nothing quite as controversial as Draymond Green’s ejection for what was deemed a Flagrant 2 foul on Brandon Clarke at the end of the first half.
Green caught Clarke in the face with a swipe down and then grabbed his jersey and pulled him to the ground, both of which head official Kane Fitzgerald noted in his explanation of Green’s ejection, as it seemed they added what they felt were two Flagrant’s together and deemed that worthy of a Flagrant 2 penalty.
At that point, Green ran around the court gesturing to the crowd before running into the locker room, and it seemed his absence might cost the Warriors the game after Memphis went on a quick run to push their lead out to six at halftime. Jordan Poole, Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson picked up Green in the second half, leading the Warriors to a one-point win, and that meant Green’s ejection was no longer the story of the game, just one of them.
On Sunday night, not long after the game ended, Green recorded an episode of his podcast from his hotel to offer his perspective on what happened, noting that he was “dumb enough to think it wouldn’t even be a Flagrant 1” and then went through the definition of a Flagrant 2 and questioned how that foul met the criteria — claiming it was instead more of a reputation issue.
I don’t think Green’s wrong about the reputation part playing a role, and Clarke even noted that after the game when he was asked about the foul.
Brandon Clarke on Draymond's Flagrant 2 foul: “It’s not shocking that he did that. It’s something he’s done in the past" pic.twitter.com/SLgLwTRXrp
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) May 1, 2022
Green’s reputation for these kinds of fouls absolutely keeps him from getting the benefit of the doubt in these situations, but he also seems to have missed the part about the hit to the face (which has become an automatic flagrant this year) being factored into what he did and he wasn’t ejected solely for pulling Clarke to the ground. In any case, he is happier than anyone that his teammates could get the job done without him, as it will keep him from shouldering blame for putting himself in position to get tossed in a tight Game 1, because if he knows his reputation proceeds him, then it’s also on him to be a touch more careful and not give the referees something to look at and wonder what the intent was.