Home News Warriors shock Magic despite Draymond Green’s ejection

Warriors shock Magic despite Draymond Green’s ejection

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Warriors shock Magic despite Draymond Green's ejection

ORLANDO, Fla. — Steph Curry keeled over with his hands on his knees. He tugged the neck of his jersey over his red face, visibly upset that his long-time teammate got himself tossed.

Draymond Green, the Warriors’ embattled defensive star, got ejected less than four minutes into Wednesday night’s game for arguing with official Ray Acosta.

But Curry and the Warriors recovered from the early, Green-imposed drama. In fact, they never trailed after Green headed to the locker room.

In a tight fourth quarter, Andrew Wiggins dropped 13 points and Curry (17 points, 10 rebounds) celebrated a step-back 3 that clinched a 101-93 victory. On the second night of a back-to-back, when everything could’ve gone south, the Warriors (38-34) pulled out a win over the contending Magic.

With 8:24 in the first quarter, Green earned his fourth ejection of the season — and his first since returning from his indefinite suspension.

The Warriors were already short-handed even before losing Green, as Jonathan Kuminga was unavailable due to tendinitis in his left knee — an ailment Steve Kerr considers minor. It was only the second game missed from Kuminga, who has emerged as the closest thing the Warriors have to a dependable secondary scorer next to Steph Curry. Kuminga has averaged 16.3 points per game and cracked double-digit points in 49 of his past 51 games.

Yet without both Kuminga and Green, the Warriors somehow wrestled Orlando into an extended submission. Immediately after Green jogged to the locker room, Golden State went on a 21-2 run. Paolo Banchero’s and-1 — the play Green lost his composure at with 8:24 left — was Orlando’s last made field goal of the opening quarter.

Orlando’s clanks added up to a 3-for-22 shooting start. Golden State held Orlando to 11 points in the first quarter, their second best defensive frame of the year.

Much of their success was simply Orlando missing clean looks. But the Warriors were bringing a physicality that appeared to give the Magic issues. Gary Payton II in particular flew around the court like a wrecking ball.

Orlando’s offense looked stagnant, with too many isolations and midrange jumpers. On one possession, Anthony Black bricked a layup and Mo Wagner airballed a fadeaway jumper in the paint.

One night after holding Miami to 37 points in the second half, the Warriors limited the Magic to 37 in the first half. Miami shot 30.4% from the field. Not a single player on either team cracked double-digits in the first 24 minutes. For the Warriors, it was a strong half that ended on a low note; nobody ran back on defense as Banchero leaked out for a wide-open dunk in the waning seconds.

But the Warriors didn’t let that sour note bleed into the second half. Curry found a slice of rhythm in the third and Trayce Jackson-Davis put pressure on each rim.

Jackson-Davis, his fellow rookie Brandin Podziemski, and the always-ready Moses Moody came up big. A Moody offensive rebound in traffic led to a Klay Thompson second chance 3. To end the third quarter, Jackson-Davis stuffed Cole Anthony at the rim. He and Podziemski combined for 23 rebounds.

Both teams shot under 30% from 3 as the Warriors entered the fourth with a 72-66 edge. Then, suddenly, the low-scoring slugfest’s dam broke.

Andrew Wiggins scored eight straight points for the Warriors, going back-and-forth with Magic guard Cole Anthony. Wiggins aggressively got downhill to answer a Franz Wagner whirling finish, then Moody followed up a miss for a putback slam.

Green had long been in the locker room, but the Warriors were playing with his fire. They sandwiched a Banchero 3 with a Thompson triple and Wiggins and-1. Wiggins dropped

The Magic cut Golden State’s lead to one late, but buckets inside from Payton II and Curry provided a late cushion. Then Curry drilled a dagger step-back 3.

In the far left corner, Curry gestured his patented “night-night” celebration. He hasn’t been able to break it out much recently, if at all. But on a night that nearly went off the rails in the beginning, he came up big to end it.



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