The Golden State Warriors’ meeting with the Charlotte Hornets was built up as a homecoming game for Stephen Curry. Instead, Curry was scratched just before tip-off because of illness, and the Warriors and Hornets decided to give us one of the wildest endings of the season in his absence.
The Warriors had a 10-point lead with under five minutes left when the Hornets started to make things interesting. Terry Rozier hit two step-back threes to trim the Charlotte’s deficit to two points. The Warriors blew a chance to go two-for-one, but an offensive rebound by Draymond Green meant it looked like the Hornets would have to foul and Golden State could make it a two possession game at the line with about 15 seconds left.
That’s not what happened. Warriors guard Brad Wanamaker got the ball near halfcourt and was tied up by two Charlotte defenders. A jump ball was called between Wanamaker and LaMelo Ball. Ball won the tip and teammate Gordon Hayward controlled the ball as he was falling to the ground. Green quickly tied him up, but the refs awarded Charlotte a timeout.
Green flipped out, and then he was given two technical fouls and the ejection that comes along with it.
Rozier went to the foul line and hit both freebies to tie the game. Now Charlotte got the final possession and let Rozier put the finishing touches on his remarkable fourth quarter.
Rozier hit a step-back three from the corner to give Charlotte a 102-100 win. What an incredible shot:
Rozier finished with 36 points on 12-of-19 shooting from the field and 8-of-11 shooting from three. The former Louisville guard has quietly been putting together a career-year amid LaMelo Mania, and he’s been particularly excellent in February. In six games before the meeting with the Warriors, he was averaging 27.3 points per game on 54.5 percent shooting from the field, 47.2 percent shooting from three, and 95 percent shooting from the free throw line.
For as great as Rozier was, the focus will rightfully be on Golden State’s collapse. Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he was frustrated that his team wasn’t given a timeout in a tie-up situation but the Hornets were on the next possession (for whatever it’s worth, here’s video of when Kerr supposedly tried to call timeout). Kerr also said Green can’t lose his cool in such a tight moment.
Steve Kerr criticizes the official’s decision to reward Charlotte a timeout instead of a jumpball, but: “Draymond can’t do that. He knows that. He made a terrible mistake getting T’d up.”
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) February 21, 2021
Kerr on Draymond: “He crossed the line. … We know we wouldn’t be the team we are without him. But that doesn’t give him permission to cross the line.”
— Marcus Thompson (@ThompsonScribe) February 21, 2021
Green supposedly took ownership for the technicals within the locker room after the game. While we don’t know what Draymond said in the moment, the refs calling two technicals in that situation seems to be pretty harsh.
The Warriors and the Hornets are currently at the bottom of the playoff picture in their respective conferences, so this was a game with a wacky ending that was actually important. For such a brilliant basketball mind, Green has had some regrettable moments in crunch-time recently.