Last night’s double-overtime game between the Rockets and Warriors was perhaps the most entertaining game of the season so far. The level of star power, shot-making, and end-to-end intensity made this one feel like a playoff game that had been transported to December, and that feeling was particularly amplified by Draymond Green’s big swinging leg.
It wasn’t so long ago that Green’s insistence on wildly flailing his limbs around was actively undermining the Warriors’ chances in the playoffs and NBA Finals. Late in the second overtime of last night’s game, a familiar scene played out:
Green was fouled by James Harden while trying to put back a rebound, but was himself assessed a flagrant foul for lifting his left leg high enough to connect with Harden’s face. Green made one of his two free throws, but the Rockets got two free throws and the ball and the whole sequence ended with Houston up 130-124 with under two minutes left to play. Green’s kick brought a four point swing in the Rockets’ favor and essentially killed the Warriors’ chances.
After the game, a clearly agitated Green avoided answering any questions about the kick or the officiating in general:
Even the most charitable reading of Green’s kicks—one that sees them as a strange physical tic and not a calculated maneuver meant to spook defenders out of Green’s airspace—doesn’t offer much absolution. That reading would simply cast Green as more of a simpleton than a villain, a guy whose inability to control his own body has repeatedly cost his team games.
Either way, it’s long past time for Green to knock this shit off. It’s not even as if the Warriors can write moments like these off as the cost of doing business with Green, infrequent but ultimately meaningless lapses that ultimately don’t harm the team’s championship aspirations. Last summer was proof that the opposite is in fact very much true!
Green has earned a deserved reputation, and if last night’s call was proof of anything, it’s that every flick of his leg is going to be scrutinized heavily this season, and will most likely result in a flagrant foul. Maybe this is an acceptable risk for the Warriors, and Green will continue to karate kick people and try to make up for it with his stellar two-way play. Or, you know, maybe the professional athlete can finally learn to control his goddamn limbs.