Draymond Green didn't start Sunday.
But it didn't take him long to make his imprint on the game. The Golden State Warriors forward came off the bench for Golden State's Game 4 victory against the Sacramento Kings after sitting Game 3 because of an NBA suspension. Less than one minute into his appearance, he picked up a technical foul.
Green entered the game with 6:36 remaining in the first quarter and the Kings leading, 15-14. He picked up a personal foul while jumping to defend a drive in the paint by Keegan Murray with 5:43 left in the quarter. He immediately protested the whistle and argued that Murray traveled on the play that saw Green inadvertently hit the Kings forward in the face and knock him to the court.
— hoops bot (@hoops_bot) April 23, 2023
After the whistle, Green and Kings All-Star De'Aaron Fox started jawing at each other. As the exchange carried on, official Pat Fraher had seen enough. He whistled both players for technical fouls.
Tensions are high in the series and were escalated during Game 2 when Green stomped on Kings forward Domantas Sabonis. Sabonis had grabbed hold of Green's ankle after being knocked to the court during a fight for a rebound. Green freed himself from Sabonis' grasp, then came down with his right foot on Sabonis' chest.
Sabonis is down after Draymond stepped on him. pic.twitter.com/6MwsNLT2Pj
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 18, 2023
Green was issued a flagrant two foul and ejected from the game. He stood on the sideline to taunt Kings fans before exiting the court, and was subsequently suspended by the NBA for Game 3.
NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Joe Dumars cited "Green’s history of unsportsmanlike acts” while issuing the suspension. He later clarified that Green's status as a "repeat offender" and history of "excessive and over-the-top actions" played a role in the decision to suspend him for a playoff game.
The Warriors won Game 3 and cut their series deficit to 2-1 despite Green's absence. For Game 4, head coach Steve Kerr decided to keep Jordan Poole in the starting lineup while bringing Green off the bench. Per ESPN, it was Green's first off the bench in a playoff game since 2014.
He entered the game to a standing ovation from the Warriors' home crowd. Moments later, he was back to stirring things up on the court as the Warriors evened the series at 2-2.