Cavs' Donovan Mitchell: Warriors' Draymond Green 'Pushed Me, so I Pushed Him Back'
Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell explained his run-in with Golden State Warriors veteran Draymond Green during the third quarter of the Cavs' 118-110 win on Saturday.
The sequence of events started with Green picking Mitchell's pocket for a steal and drawing a foul in the process. After a missed shot by the Warriors, Green bumped Mitchell from behind in transition, nearly knocking him into the first row.
When Green brought the ball up the court on the next possession, Mitchell swiped at the ball and pushed Mitchell, prompting a foul call.
That allowed the referees to check video of the previous possession, and when it was found that Green had pushed Mitchell, Draymond was assessed his second technical foul of the game and ejected.
Mitchell indicated that he knew the referees would have to check the previous play and possibly toss Green if he fouled Draymond, saying: "Simple tit for tat. Nothing outside of that. I just knew they had to look at that previous play. Gotta know the rulebook a little bit."
While Mitchell largely struggled Saturday, going just 7-of-22 from the field, he finished with 21 points and added seven rebounds and five assists.
All five of the Cavs' starters scored at least 12 points in the win, while Caris LeVert added a team-high 22 points off the bench.
By contrast, Warriors superstar guard Stephen Curry led all scorers with 30 points, but no other Dubs player scored more than 14 points, including Green, who finished with eight points on 3-of-4 shooting, plus five rebounds and four assists.
Although Green is a four-time All-Star and has been a huge part of four Warriors championship teams, technical fouls, ejections and suspensions have long been an issue for the highly passionate player.
The most infamous example occurred during the 2016 NBA Finals between the Warriors and Cavs when Green was issued a Flagrant 1 foul following a Game 4 win.
Golden State was up 3-1 in the series, but Green was suspended for Game 5, spurring a huge comeback by the LeBron James-led Cavaliers, who went on to win their first NBA title.
Mitchell used Green's aggressiveness to his advantage Saturday, and it resulted in the Warriors being without one of their best players in the fourth quarter.
It is likely no coincidence that the Cavs outscored the Warriors 34-27 in the fourth quarter following the ejection of a tenacious defender like Green.
Cleveland has already gone 2-0 against Golden State this season, meaning Mitchell and Green aren't likely to have another run-in unless the teams meet in the in-season tournament or the NBA Finals.