OAKLAND — Draymond Green earned himself an early start to the All-Star weekend on Wednesday night, drawing a pair of technical fouls with 35 seconds left on the clock in the first half.
Following Green’s ejection, the Golden State Warriors proceeded to produce their most dominant quarter of the season, hammering the Sacramento Kings 42-15 in the third on the way to a 109-86 win.
“It lit a fire under us,” Kevin Durant said after the Warriors improved their record to an NBA best 47-9 entering the break.
“I think him getting thrown out kind of woke us up a bit. He’s our vocal and emotional leader, so we kind of feed off his energy,” Durant said. “And I think him getting thrown out ironically kind of helped us out. That third quarter was probably one of the best quarters we’ve had all year.”
The plus-27 differential in the quarter marks the team’s best figure for any stanza this season and helped push the club’s streak to 142 games without suffering consecutive regular-season losses.
“I thought our guys just responded beautifully,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “We were in tough shape without Draymond. Obviously, [playing] against anyone without Draymond [is tough], but against [DeMarcus] Cousins, Draymond is really a key guy for us.”
The Warriors’ electric third quarter featured a 17-point barrage from Klay Thompson and a 22-0 run that saw the visitors endure a five-minute-and-thirty-eight second scoreless spell.
Thompson, who missed the Warriors’ 132-110 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Monday night with a sore right foot, went for a game-high 35 points, shooting 12-for-18 from the field and 7-for-12 from beyond the arc.
“I just got open looks. We were in a great flow and [you] just take the shots that you feel are open,” Thompson said. “So, for me, it’s just about staying aggressive and hunting great shots, not settling for just decent looks.”
With Green unavailable for the second half, Kerr inserted Patrick McCaw into the starting lineup. After pouring in a career high 19 against the Nuggets, McCaw ended the game at plus-21 in 18 minutes.
“McCaw was amazing,” Kerr said. “He had a ton of deflections. He was all over the place and he just seemed to be in the middle of every play defensively. Even though his offensive numbers don’t show it, he really had a huge impact on that game.”
Green earned his pair of techs after loudly disagreeing with a foul he drew as Cousins sank a circus-shot layup.
Kerr laughed when asked if he’s concerned about the two-time All-Star’s tendency to lose his cool on the court.
“We love Draymond,” Kerr. “He plays with an edge and we need that edge. In many ways he kind of represents our toughness and our energy. We struggle sometimes without him to bring the energy.”
Green has tallied 10 techs, which means he’s six away from triggering an automatic one-game ban.
“Draymond is always going to play on that edge and tonight he crossed the edge and we need him to walk that line,” Kerr said. “We don’t want to take away that chip on his shoulder, but we need him on the floor too.”