CLEVELAND — Two NBA officials who worked Game 4 of the Finals insisted that Draymond Green was not called for a technical foul in the first quarter of the Cavaliers’ 137-116 win and took responsibility for the confusion.
It appeared that Green was assessed a technical by referee John Goble for arguing after Goble called him for a loose-ball foul with 1:55 left in the first quarter.
The public address announcer said the technical was on Green, and it was listed in box scores distributed at the end of the first quarter and at halftime.
But Goble said he had actually hit Warriors coach Steve Kerr with that technical, and failed to properly communicate it to the scorer’s table. Mass confusion ensued when Green was given another technical with 6:18 to go in the third quarter, for arguing, but was not automatically ejected from the game.
“After calling the loose ball foul on Draymond Green, I noticed the reaction by coach Kerr and then assessed the technical foul,” Goble said to a pool reporter. “In the moment, I thought I had verbalized to the table that the technical foul was on coach Kerr. After looking at the video, I did not verbalize to the table, and looking at the video, I should have done a better job of making sure that the table knew the technical foul was on coach Kerr.”
Mike Callahan, the head referee in the game, said the crew “did not do a very good job of listening to the PA announcer and we did not hear him announce it.
“I take full responsibility for that,” Callahan said.
Kerr said “I thought they called it on Draymond.
“I thought I deserved it,” Kerr said. “But I thought I heard the announcer say, the PA announcer say that it was on Draymond. So then I thought the second one Draymond was going to get kicked out, but they explained that the first one was on me.”
A third official, Marc Davis, slapped Green with the technical in the third quarter.
“I knew I didn’t have a technical foul (from the first quarter),” Green said. “But (I’m) still trying to figure out why I did get the second one.”
Callahan and Goble said they weren’t aware Green was marked down for the first technical, instead of Kerr, until the scorer’s table informed them Green should be disqualified.
The Green-Kerr technical foul snafu was just part of the drama in the third quarter. The officials had to sift through a melee with 1:10 left, in which Zaza Pachulia and Kyle Korver were tangled on the court over a loose ball, and in the meantime Pachulia appeared to kick Iman Shumpert and punch him twice while Shumpert stood over him.
After a video review, Callahan assessed technicals to both Pachulia and Shumpert. No explanation was given about the play by the officials to the pool reporter after the game.
“I hate to complain,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. “I know officiating is tough, and but when you go review situations, they usually get it right. So if they didn’t call it (ejecting Pachulia), then I guess it wasn’t anything.”
There were seven technicals called in Game 4 between the two teams. Also in the third, LeBron James and Kevin Durant exchanged words during a stoppage in play (officials were reviewing a foul on Kevin Love that was upgraded to a flagrant-one when video showed Love whacked Durant in the head).
And in the second quarter, little-used reserve Dahntay Jones from the bench for jawing with Durant.
“I’m standing my ground,” Jones said. “He comes to me and is saying something disrespectful. I speak to him, they T me up. OK. Fall in love with the superstars. That’s cool. That’s fine.
“Did y’all watch Draymond Green talk behind the ref’s back to Tristan Thompson? As soon as the ref turns his back, he’s got something to say.”
Jones said this kind of game — emotional, a little nasty, technical-laden — is how the Cavs need to play to continue their comeback in a Finals that is now 3-1 in the Warriors’ favor.
“We can’t take any nonsense. That’s our identity,” he said. “We’re backed in a corner. We got to play a little nasty. We got to have a little chip on our shoulders. It’s the way we play at our best.”