Draymond Green’s mom gets courtside view of bizarre Game 4
Instead of a Warriors celebration, Mary Babers Green witnessed one of the oddest and high-scoring NBA Finals games ever.
CLEVELAND – Rasheen Smith’s hope was to surprise Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green’s mother with a courtside NBA championship experience. A Cleveland Cavaliers fan ended up ruining the surprise while the Cavaliers themselves ruined the experience by staying alive in the 2017 NBA Finals.
Smith became friends with Green and eventually his mother, Mary Babers Green, shortly after the former Michigan State star was drafted by the Warriors in 2012. The CEO and founder of FlexPower Health planned to surprise Babers Green on Friday night with a courtside seat next to him for a possible NBA championship-clinching win by the Warriors in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. But after the NBA All-Star’s mother got into a verbal altercation with a Cavaliers fan caught on social media after the Warriors’ Game 3 victory, Smith decided to give her and her son a heads up on Thursday that he was offering the ticket.
“Draymond is like a little brother to me and I look out for him like 100 percent,” Smith told The Undefeated. “I invited Mary with the hopes of giving her the experience of seeing her son win a championship very close. I already had the tickets in mind to give it to her, but when she got into the argument in the stands, it pushed up when I asked her. She’s appreciative and a special lady.
“I first saw the incident on Instagram when one of my friends liked the video in his feed. I texted her right away to make sure she was OK.”
Green appreciated Smith’s attempt at a great gesture.
“Great seats for sure. My guy Rasheen looked out for her. I really appreciate it, but I still have a ton of family here. It’s not really like you’re getting all the way away from it,” Green told The Undefeated.
While Babers Green didn’t get to see her son and the Warriors clinch a second title in three years, she did get a close view of one of the oddest and high-scoring NBA Finals games ever. LeBron James and the Cavaliers, however, fought to ensure their days as reigning NBA champions didn’t end as they beat the Warriors, 137-116.
The Cavaliers scored an NBA-record 49 points in the first quarter and 86 in the first half. Cleveland also shot 31 free throws overall in the must-win and nailed 24 of 45 3-pointers at a stunning rate of 53.3 percent. James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love combined to score 94 points for the Cavs. The Warriors also had 27 personal fouls. Green said the Cavs made timely shots any time the Warriors made a run and came ready to play.
“You have to give them credit, they were very aggressive,” said Green, who had 16 points and 14 rebounds. “But when everyone has two fouls, it’s hard to match the physicality. We will bounce back. At the end of the day, we didn’t expect them to lay down. They came out and did exactly what we thought they were going to do. I can’t foresee them going to Oracle [Arena] and hitting 24 3s.
“We never felt like we were out of the game. We continued to push and we were right there.”
The typically social media outspoken Babers Green suggested on her Twitter account @BabersGreen that there was a “ref takeover” in Game 4, accused the referees of being paid, said they lost control of the game and appeared motivated to help the series continue.
“I am convinced sitting court side that this story was written!” Babers said on her Twitter account.
Green getting his ejection reneged probably added fuel to his mom’s Twitter ire.
Green was slapped with a technical foul from referee Marc Davis with 6:18 left in the third quarter for arguing with a referee over a third personal foul. The public-address announcer belted out that Green was ejected from the game because it was his second technical foul. A mostly Cavaliers supporting crowd cheered as Ray Charles’ “Hit the Road Jack” blared from the speakers in hopes of encouraging Green to exit. Confident he only had one technical foul, Green declined to depart and put his hands in the air, encouraging the fans to cheer louder against him.
“They messed up with the [Charles] music bad. That was pretty bad,” Green said.
The referees eventually cleared up the situation, saying the first technical was actually called on Warriors coach Steve Kerr in the first quarter, not Green. Referee Mike Callahan apologized after the game, saying that he wasn’t clear to the scorer’s table that the technical was on Kerr. Green stayed in the game and described the way the game was called by the referees as “a little different.”
“I didn’t get [an explanation]. They told me to keep playing, Marc Davis. I don’t know. It’s crazy to think that he thought that was my second technical foul and I would get a second technical foul for that. I knew because the first tech [was] on Steve, which I didn’t understand.”
The scorer’s table also never announced that the second technical wasn’t on Green, which led to confusion in the crowd.
“I really didn’t pay much attention,” Green said. “I really don’t pay much attention to anybody in Cleveland, honestly. They don’t seem to be the sharpest people around.”
Green also received several taunting chants from the Cavaliers fans stating, “Draymond sucks … Draymond sucks.” He enjoyed every second of it, describing it as “pretty cool.”
“They make me feel good. They show me how important I am to them. They come to the game thinking about me. If you come to the game chanting my name, you’re at home thinking about me. So, shout-out to them. I appreciate the love,” Green said.
The night also included a fan sitting courtside getting ejected after he yelled expletives at Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, according to his teammate David West. James and Warriors All-Star forward Kevin Durant exchanged some words and were hit with a double technical, but they ended up shaking hands shortly after. Green called the James-Durant trash-talking “good for basketball.” Warriors All-Star Stephen Curry and Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert exchanged words. Pachulia appeared to hit Shumpert twice after the latter hovered over him after they tangled on the floor.
Combined with the referees’ struggles in a game that lasted nearly three hours, the Cavaliers took advantage to claim their first win of the Finals. Meanwhile, the Warriors suffered their first defeat of these playoffs and first loss since April 10 against the Utah Jazz.
When asked if the game got out of hand, Green said: “Maybe a little bit. But, like we’ve always said, ‘The longer a series goes on, the more stuff like that happens.’ ”
The Warriors hold a 3-1 series leading entering Game 5 on Monday in Oakland, California. Quicken Loans Arena’s cleaning crew was seen throwing away brooms with blue and yellow ribbons left by overzealous Warriors fans. Just a year ago, Golden State blew a 3-1 series lead as Cleveland made history by winning three straight to earn its first NBA championship. The Cavaliers would have to win four straight to win a title this time after falling behind 3-0 in the best-of-seven series.
Green is expecting the “3-1” catcalls that have haunted the Warriors since last year to return on social media.
“I’m sure it will come. That’s just the world we live in. We were up 3-0. We weren’t up 3-0 last year. It was a little different. At the end of the day, the series is a little different,” Green said.
Half-joking, half-serious, Green said several times that he was thankful for being able to play in Game 5 this time around.
Green was suspended for Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals after the league assessed a flagrant 1 foul for striking James in the groin during a scuffle in the closing minutes of last season’s Game 4. After James and Green got tangled up on a play, James stepped over Green, who responded by striking James’ groin in retaliation and throwing another punch that did not connect.
Green watched the Warriors lose Game 5 to Cleveland and also lose starting center Andrew Bogut to injury while sitting next door to Oracle Arena in a suite in the Oakland Coliseum during an Oakland Athletics game. Even with Green back for the last two Finals games last season, Golden State lost both and the series as well.
The Game 4 Finals loss to the Cavaliers on Friday ended the Warriors’ opportunity to become the first team in NBA history to go 16-0 during the postseason. Golden State won its 2015 championship during Game 6 in Cleveland. Green said he is more worried about winning a title in Oakland in Game 5 than he was about going undefeated. He is hoping his mom will get good seat on Monday to perhaps see her son help the Warriors make history.
“It’s an amazing opportunity that we have and we have to take advantage of it going back home,” Green told The Undefeated. “We’re up, 3-1. We need to come out and hit first. Close this thing out.”