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Steve Kerr — Officials admit Draymond Green’s ejection for yelling at James Wiseman was mistake



SAN FRANCISCO — Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green was mistakenly ejected late in the second quarter of Thursday night’s 119-104 loss to the New York Knicks after yelling at rookie teammate James Wiseman.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the game that Ben Taylor — the game’s crew chief — admitted at halftime that second-year official John Butler thought Green was yelling at him and made a mistake by giving the forward his second technical foul.

Green, who picked up his first technical of the game with 4 minutes, 2 seconds left in the first quarter after arguing too long with the officials, received his second with 1:04 left in the second quarter after turning the ball over on a pass directed to Wiseman.

On his way back down the floor, Green’s voice boomed through a near-empty Chase Center as he appeared to air out his frustration at the rookie. When the whistle was blown and Green was assessed his second technical, Kerr and several members of his staff tried to explain to the officiating crew that Green’s ire was directed at the rookie center.

But after listening to Green bark at various points throughout the night, hearing his frustration one more time apparently was enough, in the officials’ minds at the time, to warrant an ejection.

“At halftime Ben Taylor came out and told me that it was a mistake,” Kerr said. “That John Butler didn’t realize that Draymond was yelling at his teammate. He thought he was yelling at him.”



Steve Kerr says the crew chief told him that the second technical on Draymond Green was a mistake and the other referee thought he was yelling at him.

Green pointed to Wiseman and tried to explain what had happened as Warriors star guard Stephen Curry pleaded his own case. But after a few more seconds, Green walked back to the Warriors’ bench and high-fived teammates on his way to the locker room. Wiseman dejectedly walked to the other end of the floor after the whistle blew before realizing Green had been ejected.

Speaking to a pool reporter after the game, Taylor said the technical was assessed for “profanity that was deemed to be directed at the official.” Taylor said they did not consider rescinding the foul after hearing the team’s explanation.

For his part, Green was surprised that the officials didn’t overturn the call.

“I’m just a bit confused,” Green told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “Officials can meet and make a decision on any call throughout the game, but when it comes to a technical that was clearly the wrong call, due to an official assuming I was talking to him when in fact I wasn’t, that can’t be overturned? Maybe it’s time to take a look at that rule. I would love clarity on why that’s the rule, if in fact it is a rule.”

Green has repeatedly praised Wiseman for the talent he has shown throughout various points in the season, but his propensity for getting upset at the rookie has been clear at different points in games. The same kind of exchange happened after a Green turnover in Wednesday night’s win over the San Antonio Spurs; Green yelled at Wiseman that he wasn’t in the right position on the floor.

Wiseman acknowledged after Thursday’s game that he “messed up on the play,” which led to the Green turnover. Like many inside the Warriors locker room, he was surprised Green was ejected.

“Really just because I was trying to get a post up, but [Green] threw it too early,” Wiseman explained. “And just one of those moments where he was like “Catch the ball!” or something like that. But that’s all really. I don’t understand the situation, like why the ref did that, but I guess it’s basketball. but I was confused myself as well … that was kind of weird. That was a weird moment.”

After the game, Kerr did not want to harp on the incident with Green, instead focusing on his team’s poor defensive play.

“Obviously, Draymond is one of our best and most impactful players so it hurt us,” Kerr said of the ejection. “But we were playing very poorly to that point anyway, so I’m not going to talk about the officiating, I’m going to talk about our poor play. …We’re undisciplined. And we got to find a way to defend without fouling, obviously.”

This was Green’s 11th career ejection, good for third most in the NBA since he made his debut in 2012. Only DeMarcus Cousins (13) and Markieff Morris (12) have more during that span.

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‘We need these challenging times’



As if the Los Angeles Lakers weren’t already struggling enough, down two starters heading into Wednesday’s game against the Utah Jazz, a blowout 114-89 loss only highlighted the rut the defending champions are in.

With Anthony Davis (right leg) and Dennis Schroder (health and safety protocols) sidelined, the Jazz jumped all over the Lakers. They led by as many as 29 points in handing L.A. its fourth loss in a row and fifth in its past five games since Davis aggravated his tendinosis and suffered a calf strain a week and a half ago.

Utah has won 15 straight at home.

“They’re playing like the best team in the league right now,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said of Utah, which shot 22-for-48 from 3 in the rout.

And the Lakers, still third in the Western Conference standings at 22-11, aren’t playing anywhere near as well as their record would suggest.

L.A. kept pace with Utah in the first quarter at Vivint Arena, trailing 24-23 after one, before the Jazz erupted in the second and third quarters, outscoring the Lakers 66-41 to break the game open.

Markieff Morris, who got the start in the frontcourt against Utah’s Rudy Gobert with Davis out, said that the Lakers’ current struggles are a reality check the team needed.

“[I] think early on we won with talent a lot and we got a lot of role players that know their roles. Now with those guys out — with AD out, in particular — we need guys to do different things,” Morris said after finishing with season highs in points (12) and rebounds (9). “This is new for all of us. But we need it. If you ask me, we need it. Because you never know with injuries. You never know in the playoffs. You never know. We need these challenging times to really find who we really are.”

The four-game losing streak matches the longest the Lakers have had in the past two seasons, but Morris said it is hard to compare this season’s squad to last year’s because of the roster turnover and challenges that come with the coronavirus-compacted schedule.

“This is the most basketball that I’ve ever played in my life — this season and last season combined,” he said. “It’s an unbelievable amount of basketball that we all are playing. Mentally it gets draining. Especially when you lose.”

The Lakers have four more games before the All-Star break, with the next three of those games — home against Portland, Golden State and Phoenix — all coming against teams with winning records.

“It’s not supposed to click right away,” Morris said. “It’s supposed to take time. It’s supposed to challenge us. It’s supposed to feel like our back is against the wall. And everybody needs that. It will bring out your true self when you got to fight when your back is against the wall when you lose a couple games. It will bring out your true self.”

LeBron James, whose teams are 1-for-3 in repeat title bids so far in his career, remained pragmatic, not using L.A.’s missing players as an excuse, but leveling with the fact that the season won’t run off the rails because of February struggles.

“It’s a tough stretch for us,” James said after scoring 19 points in 28 minutes. “You know this won’t define who we will be for the rest of the season and for the long haul. That’s for sure.”

When asked if the losses could help L.A.’s overhauled locker room get to learn one another, he concurred.

“Always the best teacher in life is experience,” James said. “You know, for us to be going through this right now, I think it’s going to benefit our team tremendously.”

As with any team harboring back-to-back aspirations, Morris kept one eye on the future when assessing Wednesday’s result.

“We see the Jazz, we know they beat our ass tonight,” he said. “But in the playoffs it’s a different story.”

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Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker replaces injured Los Angeles Laker Anthony Davis in NBA All-Star Game



NEW YORK — Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker was selected Wednesday to replace injured Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis in the NBA All-Star Game.

Commissioner Adam Silver chose Booker to take Davis’ spot a day after Booker was snubbed by the league’s head coaches for a reserve spot in the March 7 game in Atlanta.

“Devin Booker is the most disrespected player in our league!!! Simple as that,” Lakers star and Western Conference captain LeBron James tweeted after Booker was left out Tuesday.

Davis, voted in as a reserve, is sidelined by a strained right calf.

Booker received his second straight All-Star selection, both as an injury replacement. He’s averaging 24.7 points, 4.3 assists, 3.8 rebounds and shooting a career-high 50.1% from the field.

Booker and fellow All-Star Chris Paul have helped Phoenix to a 20-10 record, fourth-best in the NBA. The Suns last had two All-Stars in 2009-10 with Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire.

James and Eastern Conference captain Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets will draft their rosters from the pool of starters and reserves on March 4.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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NBA remains committed to all teams playing 72 games as it announces the second half of its schedule



The NBA released its schedule for the second half of the regular season live on ESPN’s The Jump on Wednesday afternoon, laying out how it plans to have all 30 teams play 72 games despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The NBA unveiled only its first-half schedule in early December, allowing it flexibility to adjust as the pandemic inevitably wreaked havoc on its attempts to play games outside of the safe confines of a bubble like the one the league finished last season in. To try to make things as fair as possible, each team was scheduled to play either 37 or 38 games across the 73 days that first-half schedule was set to run.

Due to the pandemic, however, and the ongoing issues it has caused some teams, there is no such equity in the second-half schedule. It is no coincidence, for example, that the four teams playing on the first night back — the Washington Wizards, who will be in Memphis to take on the Grizzlies, and the San Antonio Spurs, who will travel to Dallas to play the Mavericks — all have been significantly impacted by COVID-19 in the first half of the season.

The Spurs and Grizzlies have the most games to be played, with each having to cram 40 games into a 68-day stretch of the calendar. On the other end of the spectrum are the LA Clippers, who will have only 34 games to be played in a 67-day period.

Although the NBA’s goal is to have every team play its scheduled 72 games, sources said the league is cognizant of the fact that all 30 teams might not be able to reach that number. There is limited flexibility within the schedule to add games, or to add dates on the calendar, as the NBA wants to get the playoffs completed on time before the scheduled start of the Olympic Games in late July.

As a result, the second-half schedule will conclude on Sunday, May 16, setting up a play-in tournament from May 18 to 21, which will feature the teams that finish from seventh through 10th in the Eastern and Western conferences playing for the final two playoff spots on each side of the bracket.

In the first games of the tournament, the seventh seed will host the eighth seed in each conference, with the winner of each conference’s game getting one playoff spot. The losers of those first games will then host either the ninth or 10th seed in their respective conference — depending which of the lowest seeds wins the games played between those two teams — for the second playoff spot.

The NBA playoffs will then begin on Saturday, May 22.

There will be five ABC games over the second half of the schedule, all featuring marquee matchups of the league’s top teams. Those are:

* The Clippers hosting their Staples Center co-tenants, the Los Angeles Lakers, on April 4.

* The Lakers traveling to Brooklyn to face the Nets on April 10.

* Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors traveling to Boston to play the Celtics on April 17.

* The Lakers playing Luka Doncic and the Mavericks in Dallas on April 24.

* And the Nets going to Milwaukee to face Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks on May 2.

As with the first-half schedule, the NBA has resumed using baseball-style scheduling in the second half, with teams playing two games in one city against the same opponent in order to minimize travel when possible. One prominent example of that is the league-leading Utah Jazz playing in Los Angeles against the Lakers on Saturday, April 17, and Monday, April 19, with both games being on ESPN.

After the two-game opening night featuring Wizards-Grizzlies and Spurs-Mavericks — the latter being on NBA TV — TNT opens the second half of the season on Thursday, March 11, with the Celtics playing the Nets in Brooklyn and the Clippers hosting the Warriors.

The opening ESPN broadcast of the second-half schedule has the Clippers traveling to New Orleans to face newly minted All-Star Zion Williamson and the Pelicans on Sunday, March 14 — followed by the surprising New York Knicks going to Brooklyn and playing the Nets and the Lakers traveling to San Francisco to play the Warriors the next night.

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