Draymond Green's suspension for Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals was one of the key factors in the Warriors blowing a three-games-to-one lead to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Had Green be available for Game 5, there is a good chance the Warriors wrap things up, win their second straight title and NBA history is forever altered.
So you wouldn't think that an ejection in Game 31 of a truncated COVID-19 season against the Charlotte Hornets would hold as much weight with the Warriors forward as his absence from Game 5 of the 2016 Finals. But you'd be mistaken.
"I'm still a bit disappointed in myself because I think that whole situation bothered me," Green told reporters Monday. "I know for sure it did. It bothered me more than being suspended from Game 5 of the NBA Finals in 2016. The reason it bothered me more than that is because, you know, you can have your thoughts on the Game 5 situation, I for sure have my thoughts on the Game 5 situation, but this situation, in particular, I had complete control over. I let that control get away from me and, in turn, I let the game away from myself and my teammates.
"I think the reason it bothered me more, obviously, as I said, your thoughts are your thoughts on the Game 5 situation and my thoughts are my thoughts. This young team, you know, winning an NBA game is not easy. And this young team has not had, you know, the guys on this team has not had much experience with winning. So to take the game away from my teammates, which, you know, they worked so hard for, was a bit frustrating for me because I let them down."
Green opened Monday's media availability by admitting fault in the end-of-game scenario that saw the Steph Curry-less Warriors lose to the sub-.500 Hornets on a Terry Rozier buzzer-beater.
"It's changed over the past couple days," Green told reporters. "I'd say immediately after that game I was kind of pissed off, just on my feelings on the whole situation, on how the first tech went down more so than the second tech were my initial feelings. Anger that came from the situation. As I sat and I thought about the situation and reassessed as I had time to let the whole thing marinate and digest -- I was dead-ass wrong. And not that I was wrong, like I said, for the first tech per se, but once I had the first tech I can't get the second tech. So I was a bit disappointed."
The Warriors held a two-point lead with nine seconds remaining when LaMelo Ball tied up Brad Wanamaker to force a jump ball. Gordon Hayward grabbed the ensuing loose ball but appeared to be tied up by Green. However, the officials awarded the Hornets a timeout instead of signaling for a jump ball. Green became incensed and was whistled for two quick technical fouls and sent to the showers.
Rozier knocked down two technical free throws to tie the game and then buried a 20-footer at the buzzer to give the Hornets a 102-100 win.
After the game, head coach Steve Kerr admitted he thought Green "crossed a line" in his anger. Forward Eric Paschall told reporters that Green apologized to his teammates after the loss.
The Warriors now are 16-15 and have failed to gain any traction on their current East Coast road trip, dropping the first two games to the Orlando Magic and Hornets.
Stuck in neutral in the crowded Western Conference, Green knows how important every win is to this Warriors team. He also knows his actions contributed to a loss on the ledger that should not have been there. He pledged not to let his emotions cost this Warriors team again.
With Curry expected to return Tuesday, the Warriors hope they can get back in the win column when they face the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.