Referee error leads to confusing Draymond Green non-ejection

Draymond Green would like an explanation. (AP)
Draymond Green would like an explanation. (AP)

The NBA has taken several steps in recent years to improve transparency and accountability regarding officiating. After one bizarre incident in Game 4 of the 2017 NBA Finals, they’ll have to try a lot harder.

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The moment in question occurred with 6:18 remaining in the third quarter, when Draymond Green was whistled for what seemed like his second technical foul after disputing the call that earned him his fourth personal foul. Green had previously been called for a technical foul with 1:55 remaining in the first quarter, and the second would have resulted in an automatic ejection. ABC play-by-play announcer Mike Breen immediately questioned the worthiness of the second technical in such a major moment in the game, and his colleagues Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy seemed to agree.

Then everything got very, very confusing. Green stayed on the court as Kyrie Irving shot his technical free throw, and the referees didn’t seem especially concerned with ushering him to the locker room in a timely manner.

That’s because they didn’t eject him. After a period of confusion, referees informed the scorer’s table that Green’s first technical was meant for Steve Kerr. Video shows that Kerr had yelled at referees:

Unfortunately, it had gone into the official record on the wrong player. Take a look at the halftime box score:

The official halftime box score showed a technical foul on Draymond Green. (NBA)
The official halftime box score showed a technical foul on Draymond Green. (NBA)

As reported by Doris Burke, everyone at the scorer’s table agreed that the first technical had been called on Green. After a timeout, Breen relayed that referee John Goble had explained that the confusion arose from the fact that Green had also been called for a personal foul at the time. Apparently the official scorer had mistakenly entered the technical foul as on Green.

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The officials explained the incident after the game:

At best, this mistake is a bad look for the NBA. Yet it appeared even worse in the context of Game 4, a poorly officiated game that included 22 first-quarter free throws for the Cavaliers, several confrontations allowed to go on for too long, and a below-the-belt shot from Zaza Pachulia to Iman Shumpert that went uncalled even after an official review. To give just one specific example, Green’s technical came a little more than a minute after Kevin Durant and LeBron James jawed for the length of a full conversation before being hit with double technicals:

Mary Babers-Green, mother of Draymond, was fed up:

If you want a more unbiased view, listen to longtime reporter Fran Blinebury:

The confusion over Green’s technical was only the most blatantly mishandled play of the bunch. Frankly, these great teams deserve better.

More NBA Finals coverage from Yahoo Sports:
Cavs score NBA Finals-record 49 in a quarter
LeBron pulls off ridiculous alley-oop to himself
Did Zaza Pachulia punch Iman Shumpert in the groin during Game 4?

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Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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