Warriors’ Draymond Green ejected vs. Suns after striking Jusuf Nurkić in face

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 Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green was ejected during the third quarter of Tuesday’s 119-116 loss to the Phoenix Suns. Green appeared to be grappling for post positioning against Suns big man Jusuf Nurkić near the corner, swung around and nailed Nurkić in the face with a wild right arm. Nurkić went down in a heap and stayed down for about a minute.

Draymond Green has been ejected for the third time this season after hitting Jusuf Nurkic in the face.

🎥 @TSN_Sportspic.twitter.com/vuAwwvgo6y

— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) December 13, 2023

Officials stopped the game for a review but it did not take long. Green was ejected and didn’t even dispute it. He ran straight to the locker room. The NBA is expected to assess the situation in the next 24 hours and likely hand Green another suspension.

Following the game, Green apologized to Nurkić. He said it was unintentional and that he was just trying to sell a foul by flailing his arms.

“As you know, I’m not one to apologize for things I meant to do, but I do apologize to Jusuf. Because I didn’t intend to hit him,” Green said. “I sell calls with my arms.”

Draymond Green apologized to Jusuf Nurkic for his swinging hit above the shoulders, but said it was unintentional and he was just trying to sell a foul pic.twitter.com/uyXfaZ9F2D

— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 13, 2023

Green has a history of suspensions. In November he was sidelined for five games by the league after he grabbed Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert around the neck “in an unsportsmanlike and dangerous manner.” It was the fifth suspension of his career.

What this means for Warriors

At a vulnerable moment in their season, they could again be missing their best defender and emotional engine for a string of games. Green has been ejected three times this season and suspended for another five games after the Gobert choke hold. He also missed the first two games of the season while dealing with a sprained ankle and another night due to a personal matter.

So that’s already 11 of the first 23 games Green has either missed entirely or been ejected while the competitive portion was yet to be decided. His absence has been a killer for a team that can’t get any sustained rhythm. That is only expected to continue after this latest league review. — Anthony Slater, Warriors writer

Could Green face another suspension?

Based on the NBA’s last reasoning for its five-game suspension, Green is looking at another five games at least. So the Warriors will have another extended period without their best defender and key facilitator.

However, the timing works out for Golden State on the court as Green’s absence will mean more time for Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody. The Warriors are at a crossroads with their championship core as it hasn’t produced at the expected level. The young players, including rookie Brandin Podziemski, have been pressuring coach Steve Kerr to play them by with their production. Kerr even benched Andrew Wiggins and Kevon Looney to start the second half Tuesday.

With no Green, that’s some 30 minutes to redistribute. That could also be good news for rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis, the third big man on the roster. — Marcus Thompson II, senior Bay Area columnist

Required reading

  • A look at Draymond Green’s history of suspensions in the NBA
  • Rudy Gobert calls out Draymond Green’s ‘clown behavior’
  • Green suspended 5 games for involvement in fight with Timberwolves

(Photo: Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today)

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