Golden State Warriors' forward Draymond Green has added another controversial incident to his growing logbook, with the 33-year-old ejected during the third-quarter of his team's three-point loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night.
Green was adjudged a flagrant two foul for a swinging arm to the face of Suns' big man Jusuf Nurkic, proving a pivotal moment in a game where Phoenix were without superstar Kevin Durant and a number of their regular role players.
The Golden State Warriors have suffered their third loss to the Phoenix Suns this season, falling 119-116 at Footprint Center.
Green's ejection came at the 8:23 mark of the third period, with the Suns outscoring the Warriors by eight after that moment. It was one of a number of storylines for Golden State as Steve Kerr made some bold lineup decisions in the second-half.
The first-half was a microcosm of the team's issues this season, with the likes of Andrew Wiggins and Kevon Looney struggling amid a poor starting unit. Golden State's bench got them back in the game, before elevating them to a 13-point lead during the second-quarter.
The Suns roared back to make it a three-point game by half-time, leading Kerr into making the stunning decision to bench Wiggins and Looney while placing Jonathan Kuminga and Brandin Podziemski in the starting lineup.
In Green's absence, Kerr even went to Trayce Jackson-Davis early in the fourth-quarter as all the Warrior young players saw an increased role. Wiggins was limited to just over five minutes in the second-half and less than 15 for the game, while Looney played less than 12 minutes overall.
The game went back-and-forth for much of the second-half, before the Suns seemingly took control by bursting out to a 13-point lead of their own with just minutes remaining. Golden State, closing with Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, Podziemski, Kuminga and Dario Saric, fought back late and had a chance to tie it in the final 10 seconds, only for Curry's three-point attempt to go awry.
Was this the changing of the guard and a game to look back at in regard to the direction of the Warriors? Kerr had held faith in his veterans for most of the season, but he finally pulled the trigger on some big moves. Wiggins and Looney were benched, Thompson didn't close, and Green put himself out of the game by his own accord.
As he has in almost every game this season, Podziemski took advantage of the extra opportunity. The 19th overall pick had 18 points in the second-half, finishing with 20 points, 11 rebounds and five assists on 9-14 shooting in over 28 minutes.
He was one of five bench players to score in double figures -- Kuminga added 16 points and six rebounds while Paul had 15 points, five rebounds and 11 assists. Moses Moody also had 12 points and four rebounds, with the Golden State bench outscoring the Suns 80-30.
For all the positives from the Warrior youngsters, it still resulted in a loss that sinks them to 10-13 on the season. If Green doesn't have another brainfade, they probably walk away with the much-needed victory. Instead, they remain in a further state of flux awaiting to see if Green, who has already been ejected three times and been suspended for five games this season, faces further penalty for his hit on Nurkic.