Kendra AndrewsESPN6 minutes to read
Sacramento, Calif. – In 28 playoff series all together, there aren’t many firsts left for this one Golden State Warriors Collection. Coming into the 2023 postseason, they have never trailed 0-2 in a series. In fact, the Warriors haven’t dropped their first two games of a playoff series since the 2007 Western Conference semifinals.
That all changed Monday night, however, with the Sacramento Kings winning 114-106, leaving Golden State staring at an 0-2 lead in the first round.
Monday’s game fell apart in waves for the Warriors – missed open kicks, outplayed them physically, struggled to handle the ball – problems they’ve had all season. It culminated with Draymond Green being sacked with 7:03 remaining in the fourth quarter after he stomped on the chest of Sacramento’s Domantas Sabonis.
After Stephen Curry grabbed a defensive rebound and turned to head home, Sabonis slipped and fell into the paint. He grabbed Green’s leg, and after Green initially shook Sabonis’s fist, took a hard step on Sabonis’ chest.
Sabonis remained where she was for a few minutes while the officials reviewed the play. Called for a technical foul for grabbing Green’s leg, Green received a flagrant 2 that resulted in an automatic ejection.
“When I fell, I was protecting myself, and then the accident happened,” Sabonis said. “There is no room for that in our game today.”
Sabonis underwent an X-ray of his sternum which came back negative, and it appears he avoided injury, a source told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. He will undergo additional tests on Tuesday as a precaution.
Explaining his side of the incident, Green said, “I got caught on my foot – for the second time in two nights – and the umpire is just watching. My foot landed somewhere, and I’m not the most flexible person, so it doesn’t stretch that far… I can only I step so far with someone pulling my leg away.”
The first time Green’s leg was carried, he said, was in Game 1, by Kings guard Malik Monk.
“I think holding the ankle is OK,” Green said Monday.
“What do you do when someone grabs your leg when you’re running at full speed?” Warriors guard Klay Thompson asked rhetorically. “It’s not cool. I’m not saying what Draymond did was right, but you can’t just catch someone’s foot in a full sprint.”
Kings coach Mike Brown said he was “curious” about what would happen when the league reviewed the incident. The question now becomes whether the play warrants any additional suspension or punishment.
During the in-game review, fans in Sacramento shouted insulting cheers toward Green, who incited them by waving his hands, putting a hand to his ear calling out loudly, and standing on a chair with a towel draped around his shoulders.
This isn’t the first playoff offense for Green, who was suspended one game during the 2016 NBA Finals after accumulating too many flagrant fouls in the playoffs that season.
As he sat on the bench as cheers of “Draymond sucks” rained down on Monday night, Green flashed a smile and a peace sign. As he walked back to the locker room, he flatly yelled at all of his teammates.
The game was not lost when Green was ejected. Warriors have fed off moments like this before – allowing Green’s fire to fuel them.
Instead, I did just that for royalty.
“We put this together,” said Sacramento guard D’Aaron Fox. “We got together and said, ‘We have to win this game,’ especially since everyone thought [Green] He will be expelled. When that usually happens, that team gets together and goes racing. We were able to deny it.”
But there were plenty of other bugs that prevented the Warriors from bridging the gap between them and the Kings, even with the game coming almost the entire time.
The Warriors ’20 transformations certainly didn’t help. The same goes for their filth. Each of these areas were glaring issues for Golden State during the first two games of the series. The Kings attempted 29 free throws Monday night, after he took 32 missed shots in Game 1.
Curry finished with 28 points on 9-of-21 shooting and was 3-of-13 of 3. He was in contention on 16 of 21 field goal attempts and nine of 13 field goals. He was 0 for 5 with Fox or Monk as his primary defender.
Andrew Wiggins added 22 points on 9-of-19, and Thompson scored 21 points on 7-of-13, including five 3s. But it wasn’t enough to overcome the areas hurting the warriors.
“I think the confidence we have, as illusory as it may seem, is that we keep making the same mistakes but we’re still competing at a high level and showing what we’re capable of,” said Carey. “We know we have it, we know we can. It’s just, Can we deliver? That question will determine our fate in this series.”
But perhaps it is also time to pay the royals dues. Every time there was a chance of panic creeping in, they appeared poised, calm, and in control, despite their lack of appendix experience.
“They played better than we did out on the field,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. They were the aggressors, and I thought they benefited from being the aggressors.”
Despite trailing 0-2, the Warriors seemed unwavering. Green spoke with a smile on his face as he addressed the reporters after the match.
“It’s sexy, isn’t it?” He said of being in unfamiliar territory in the playoff series. “It’s a new challenge. After the game, I was thinking: This is something we haven’t seen yet. And we beat all the rest of them, so why don’t we go beat this? Hazar.”
Thompson was image “chill” when he was answering questions. The locker room, though quiet, did not have a negative aura.
“I don’t feel pressured,” Thompson said. “I see an opportunity to protect the home court and make amends. We’ve been through it all. We’re not used to hitting the panic button.”
Warriors are not at the point where they are most concerned. But that could very well change depending on how they respond back in San Francisco.
“Here’s the saying: The series doesn’t start until someone wins on the other team’s home ground,” Curry said. “If we want to get ourselves back at it, we have to start with a focused match-3 effort at home.”
Information from the Associated Press is included in this report.
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