Draymond Green went to the chest of Domantas Sabides after a strong action

Kendra AndrewsESPNRead 6 minutes

Draymond was fired after kicking Sabinis

Draymond Green is ejected for kicking Domantas Sabinis after the two big men collided.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — At 28 playoff games together, there aren’t many firsts left for this Golden State Warriors team. Entering the 2023 playoffs, they have never gone 0-2 in a series. In fact, the Warriors haven’t dropped their first two playoff games since the 2007 Western Conference semifinals.

That all changed Monday night, with Golden State facing an 0-2 series deficit with a 114-106 win over the Sacramento Kings.

Monday’s game was a flurry for the Warriors — missing open positions, getting physical, struggling to take care of the ball — just like they have all year. Sacramento’s Domantas Sabinis was sacked by Draymond Green with 7:03 left in the fourth quarter after kicking him in the chest.

After Stephen Curry grabbed the defensive rebound and turned his head to the floor, Sabinis slipped and fell in the paint. He grabs Green’s leg, and after Green first shakes off Sabinis’s arm, he lands a hard step directly on Sabinis’ chest.

Sabinis stayed for a few minutes while the officials reviewed the play. He was called for a technical foul for grabbing Green’s foot and Green was given a flag-2 foul, resulting in an automatic ejection.

“I was holding myself up when I fell and then it happened,” Sabinis said. “There is no room for that in our game today.”

Sandis had an X-ray on his chest which came back negative and it appears he survived the injury, a source told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. He will conduct further tests on Tuesday as a precaution.

“My leg got caught — the second time in two nights — and the ref is watching. I threw my leg somewhere, and I’m not very flexible. So, man, I don’t extend that much… I can only walk away when someone pulls my leg,” Green said of his side of the incident.

The first time Green’s leg was caught was in Game 1, by Kings guard Malik Monk.

“I guess the ankle is fine,” Green said Monday.

“What do you do when someone grabs your leg while you’re running full speed?” Warriors guard Klay Thompson asked rhetorically. “That’s not good, I’m not saying what Draymond did was right, but you can’t just take someone’s leg off completely.”

Kings coach Mike Brown said he is curious to see what happens when the league reviews the incident.

During the in-game review, Sacramento fans booed Green, who waved his arms, held his hands to his ears in loud cheers and stood on a bench with a towel wrapped around his shoulders.

This isn’t Green’s first playoff violation, after he racked up multiple fouls during that season’s playoff run, which was suspended for one game during the 2016 playoffs.

As he sat on the bench in the rain Monday night amid “Draymond sucks” chants, Green flashed a smile and a peace sign, and when he returned to the locker room, he emphatically addressed all of his teammates.

The match was not lost when Green was sent off. The Warriors have consumed moments like this before — he let Green’s fire fuel them.

Instead, he made them for royalty.

“That brought us together,” Dearon Fox said. “We came together and were like, ‘We’ve got to win this game,’ especially because everyone thought (Green) was going to get kicked out. When that happens, that team comes together and runs. We were able to negate that.”

But there were just too many mistakes that prevented the Warriors from closing the gap between them and the Kings, even when the game was close at full time.

The Warriors’ 20 turnovers didn’t help. The same goes for their loss. Both positions have been shining cases for Golden State in the first two games of this series. The Kings attempted 29 free throws Monday night after taking 32 in Game 1.

Curry finished with 28 points on 9-of-21 shooting and was just 3-of-13. He made 16 of 21 field goal attempts, and nine of 13 3s. He was 0-for-5 with either Fox or Monk as the primary defender

Andrew Wiggins added 22 points on 9-of-19 shooting and Thompson had 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting, including five 3s, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the areas where they were hurt.

“I think our confidence, like cheating, is that we’re going to continue to make the same mistakes but still compete at a high level and show what we’re capable of,” Curry said. “We know we have it and we know we have the ability. Can we just execute? That question will determine our fate in this series.”

But maybe it’s not time to pay kings their due. Whenever there was an opportunity to dive into the fray, they looked calm, composed and in control despite their lack of playing experience.

“They played better than us,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “They were invaders and I thought they would benefit from being invaders.”

Despite trailing 0-2, the Warriors looked poised. Green said with a smile on his face as he spoke to reporters after the game.

“It’s fun, isn’t it?” He talked about being in unfamiliar territory throughout the game. “This is a new challenge. I was thinking after the game: This is something we haven’t seen before. And we’ve won all the others, why don’t we go to win this one? It’s going to be fun.”

Thompson was the picture of “coolness” when fielding questions. The locker room, although quiet, did not have a negative aura.

“I don’t feel pressured,” Thompson said. “I see an opportunity to protect home court and make adjustments. We’ve been through everything. We’re not used to hitting the panic button.”

The fighters are not at a point where they are too worried or panicked. But that could very well change depending on the reaction back in San Francisco.

“It’s the old saying: The streak doesn’t start until someone wins on the other team’s home floor,” Curry said. “If we want to get ourselves back into it, we have to start with a focused effort in Game 3 at home.”


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