CLEVELAND — Referees said a miscommunication with the scorer’s table led to confusion following a Draymond Green technical foul in the third quarter of Game 4 of the NBA Finals, leading to Green initially being announced as ejected before that call was overturned.
A technical foul in the first quarter that official John Goble called on Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr was incorrectly recorded by the official scorer as being on Green. It was announced as being on Green, and it remained in the official box score that way. The mistake was not corrected.
So when Green was called for a technical foul by official Marc Davis in the second half, it seemed as if Green should’ve been ejected. Only then was the mistake fixed, and Green was allowed to stay in the game. It was confusing for both teams and the crowd, who believed Green should’ve been ejected for having two technicals.
“In the moment, I thought I had verbalized to the table that the technical foul was on Coach Kerr,” Goble told a pool reporter after the game. “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.”
However, Green said he believed that Davis, the referee who called the technical in the third quarter, did think it was Green’s second technical foul and was prepared to eject him for a relatively mild reaction to a foul.
“It’s crazy to think that [Davis] thought that was my second technical foul, and I would get a technical foul for that, but whatever,” Green said.
Kerr said he also thought it was the second technical on Green.
“I thought they called [the first technical] on Draymond,” Kerr said. “I thought I deserved it. But I thought I heard the PA announcer say that it was on Draymond. So then I thought the second one, Draymond was going to get kicked out, but they explained that the first one was on me.”
Replays from the first quarter showed that Goble reacted to Kerr’s jumping off the bench to protest a loose-ball foul on Green for elbowing the Cavs’ Iman Shumpert. But there was never a correction despite the PA announcer assigning the technical to Green.
“At that time, we did not do a very good job of listening to the PA announcer and we did not hear him announce it,” crew chief Mike Callahan said. “I take full responsibility for that.”
Green said he knew he didn’t have two technical fouls.
“I knew. Because the first tech was on Steve, which I didn’t understand,” Green said. “Mike Callahan came up to John [Goble] and asked him, ‘Who was the tech on?’ and he said Kerr. So I knew I didn’t have a technical foul. But still trying to figure out why did I get the second one.”
Green now has four technicals this postseason; a one-game suspension doesn’t kick in until a seventh.
Green, though, said he’s not changing how he plays.
“Ain’t no tech going to stop me from being me,” he said. “At least if I’m going to get them, I think I should like, let me earn them. Let me get my money’s worth if I’m going to get some techs. But hey, it’s the day and age we live in.”
Green was suspended for Game 5 of the NBA Finals last year.
“Thank God I get to play on Monday [in Game 5], hopefully,” he said.
The Green non-ejection marked one of several tension-filled moments in a game that saw Cleveland stay alive in the Finals and Golden State being denied a series sweep on the road.
Warriors star Kevin Durant and Cavaliers star LeBron James were each charged with technical fouls with 7:26 left in the third quarter after jawing with each other near the scorer’s table during a break in play.
Warriors center Zaza Pachulia and Shumpert also were each charged with technical fouls with 1:10 left in the third after both got tangled on the floor going after a loose ball.
In all, there were seven technicals in Game 4 after there were just three in the first three games. Some 51 fouls were called Friday night and 67 free throws attempted.
A courtside fan also was relocated after yelling at Golden State’s bench.
Durant called his back-and-forth with James all about being emotional.
“We weren’t coming to blows, we were just talking,” he said. “That’s a part of basketball. The game of basketball created that. The refs didn’t. We didn’t as players. It’s like the aura of the game created trash talk and just communication out there. So I know you could take away the physical part of the game as far as controlling stuff, but emotionally that should be us, that should be what the players have as their own out there.
“So I’m sure it’s going to continue. There’s nothing malicious, or we didn’t say anything malicious, it was just a part of the game. Emotions are what keeps this game alive, it keeps it going. It’s for the players.”
Asked about the officiating overall, Kerr said, “Nice try.”
“It was just an incredibly physical game,” he added. “That was obvious from the beginning. Ton of fouls called early, a lot of holding and grabbing and pushing and shoving. It got out of hand a little bit, and the third quarter it seemed like the game was stopping every time.
“We knew they were going to come out and fight. So there was a lot of fight and there was a lot of intensity. That’s kind of what you expect at this level.”
Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue called it as intense as his team has played in the Finals, with respect to the physicality and the altercations in the third quarter.
“You get down 3-0 and you’re fighting and you’re trying to get a win, you do whatever it takes,” he said. “I thought our team was very energetic. I thought (Iman Shumpert) came in and gave us some great minutes with great energy.
“It was a total team effort. But I thought we really brought a physicality to the game. We had a purpose and we cut down some of our mistakes we have been making those first three games and were able to play well.”
Information from ESPN’s Chris Haynes was used in this report.