The questionable Draymond Green ejection sent Stephen A. Smith and Jalen Rose over the edge during ESPN’s halftime show.
It doesn’t take a lot to work Stephen A. Smith up, but it’s not often then the Venn diagram of things that get him going and things that get everyone else on NBA Twitter going is a circle.
That was the case on Sunday when Draymond Green was ejected from Game 1 of the Warriors-Grizzlies Conference Semifinal matchup.
If you missed it, Green fouled Brandon Clarke but grabbed the big man’s jersey on his way down to the court. The visual made it appear as though Green was grabbing his jersey to throw him to the hardwood but replay suggested that the move was made to ensure Clarke didn’t hit the floor too hard.
Officials watched that replay and determined that it was a Flagarant 2 and ejected Green from the game mere minutes before halftime.
Stephen A. Smith was beside himself during the ESPN halftime show, going as far as to say officials’ decision to eject Draymond Green “tarnished” an otherwise great Game 1.
“I think it’s an utterly ridiculous decision by the officiating crew,” Stephen A said on the halftime broadcast. “This is utterly ridiculous here, I mean it’s a damn shame that this happened. [If officials] want to give him a tech, fine. But he clearly tried to hold the person up, he was making a defensive play.”
Draymond Green ejection: Stephen A. Smith and Jalen Rose lost their minds
While Draymond’s jersey grab was the most visceral part of the ejection, it was explained by officials that it actually had nothing at all to do with the call. Instead, it was the contact with Clarke’s head that apparently warranted the ejection.
That being said, Stephen A wasn’t satisfied with taking just a major player in the game out of it before the first half was even over.
“To have [Draymond Green] ejected, and to compromise the potential outcome, and to leave us in the position where we’re talking about this ejection as opposed to talking about two high-end competitors going after it, I think this tarnished the level of competition that was out there today. There’s no excuse for this decision as far as I’m concerned.”
Jalen Rose put an exclamation on the rant with one of his own, pointing out that the playoffs are not the place to make that sort of call. Notably, the fact Green didn’t grab Clarke’s jersey to throw him to the ground but rather to try and lessen the impact.
“[Clarke] was about to his the ground and Draymond grabbed him to try and soften the blow from him hitting the ground,” Rose said. “Lastly, it’s the playoffs. You can’t be throwing Draymond Green, the elite defender of the Golden State Warriors who gives him a chance defensively up front, out of a Game 1 and basically put Memphis in pole position to take this game.”