October 2, 2022

Draymond Green entered Game 2 of the NBA Finals wanting to play something other than basketball, and the Boston Celtics agreed, losing themselves amid a bevy of contentious calls and reckless turnovers.

The Golden State Warriors forward bodied Jayson Tatum, wrestled Grant Williams, baited Jaylen Brown and mauled Al Horford. Green was nearly sent off in the last minute before halftime. Instead of responding with aggression around the basket, Boston folded in an embarrassing third-quarter effort and a 107-88 loss.

“They raised their [intensity]and we were looking around waiting for someone to bail us out, and with them, that’s not going to happen,” Brown said. “We have to raise ours and really no excuses.”

Green forced a ball jump on the game’s first possession, setting the tone defensively for his Warriors, then proceeded to drag the Celtics into the mud. He got his first technical foul minutes on his night, when after tackling Williams (and somehow drawing a foul), he kept pushing the Celtics forward.

The ensuing free throw gave the Celtics a 19-13 lead which they extended to nine, but their seven turnovers and eight fouls led to a 31-30 deficit at the end of the first quarter. Brown scored 13 of Boston’s first 22 points but got his second foul on what he called “a phantom call” eight minutes into the game. He wasn’t the same after sitting out the rest of the first quarter, scoring just four more points on 1-for-11 shooting.

“I didn’t feel like I touched Gary Payton and voiced it, but they called me a foul,” said Brown, who was the hero of Boston’s Game 1 win. “That sat me down. I can’t let that be the reason I wasn’t as effective in the second half, but I definitely changed the game with that phantom call.”

The score swung five points in either team’s direction in the second quarter and settled on Golden State’s 52-50 halftime lead. But not before Green fouls Brown, puts his legs over Brown’s head, shoves him, and pulls on his shorts when Brown gets up. An official review determined it was not worth an ejection.

“I deserved differential treatment, and I appreciate that and accept that,” Green conceded live on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” after the win, confirming all but what former NBA referee Steve Javie said on the show – that the refereeing team should consider his first technical foul when determining the second.

“I feel like it was illegal gambling,” Brown replied. “I feel like they could have called it, but they let it down technically anyway. But I don’t know what I was supposed to do there. Someone put their legs on top of your head, and then he tried to pull my pants down, I don’t know what it was.

“That’s what Draymond Green does. He’ll do whatever it takes to win. He’ll shoot you, he’ll catch you, he’ll try to ruin the game, because that’s what he does for their team. It’s nothing There’s nothing that surprises me He raised his physique to try to stop us, and we need to raise ours.

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green gives Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart a listening ear during Game 2 of the NBA Finals. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Rather than answer the bell, Boston folded after the break. As the Warriors pushed their lead to 67-56 midway through the third quarter, Celtics head coach Ime Udoka tried to inspire his team by seeking a technical foul. The absence of a whistle when Green hit Brown was his last straw with the refereeing of the game.

“I just let them know how I felt throughout the game in a demonstrative way with the aim of getting some technique,” said Udoka, who cited his side’s carelessness with the ball and reluctance to move it. as a difference.

“I could see it coming a mile away,” Horford said of Udoka’s technique. “Just that whole first half, it was definitely different. We knew it was going to be different, but we kind of wanted to stay the course.”

The Celtics hit two straight runs to cut Golden State’s lead to 68-62. On their next possession, Horford posted Stephen Curry 3 feet from the basket and opted not to attack the rim, tossing the ball into traffic. Never has Boston’s lack of strength been more evident. The floodgates opened after that, as the Warriors closed out the final 4:17 of the third quarter on a 19-2 run, capped off by Jordan Poole’s 39-footer.

Simple and clear: the Celtics let Green and the referees take the lead.

“Of course he will come out and try to set the tone,” Udoka said, “but we weren’t very good with the ball, looking for fouls instead of going up and making plays, especially with their lack of rim protection.

“I just felt like we didn’t get the benefit of the doubt when we were trying to play with that physique,” lamented Tatum, who scored a team-high 28 points but made a field goal after the game. half time.

Golden State extended its lead to 29 per minute in the fourth quarter and Udoka retired his starters. In the end, the Warriors scored 33 points on Boston’s 19 turnovers — most of them unforced — and the Celtics found just six shots to the rim and finished a dismal 7 for 29 (24 FG%) from 5. at 19 feet.

None of this was what Boston expected of the Celtics, who were closer to the version that went poorly for some six minutes in the Eastern Conference Finals than the team that has been the most physical in the NBA. throughout the playoffs. That’s what happens when you let Green dictate the rules of engagement.

“It’s important for me to come out that way on that side,” he said. “I have to keep doing that in this series. It’s not going to get easier. It’s only going to get harder. I have to kick it up a few more notches.”

What it looks like in Game 3 will be striking to say the least, but Boston can’t afford to play their game.

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Ben Rohrbach is a staff writer for Yahoo Sports. Do you have any advice? Email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach