How ref’s mistake turned NBA Finals Game 4 into chaos

OAKLAND, Calif. — Seven technical fouls. Angry, in-your-face discussions. Hard, physical play. Annoyance over social-media posts. Confusion on officiating calls. Maybe even a shot to the groin.

The NBA Finals. Fun for the whole family.

Game 4 Friday was a physically demanding, emotionally draining 48-minute exercise that took nearly three hours. Draymond Green, who finds emotional spots the way magnets find metal, was thought to have received a first-quarter technical, but it turned out the T was on Warriors coach Steve Kerr. So when Green was assessed a third-quarter technical, most everyone inside Quicken Loans Arena thought he was ejected. Not the refs.

“When the technical foul was called on Draymond Green, we reported it to the table. The table informed us that it was his second technical foul and ejected [Green]. We informed the table that it was not his second technical foul,” crew chief Mike Callahan said in a pool report.

The confusion began when ref John Goble called Green for a loose ball foul in the first quarter. Green protested. Kerr protested. Goble T’d up Kerr. Most everyone in the building, including those at the scorer’s table, thought Green was the culprit. Goble stepped up and accepted the blame.

“I noticed the reaction by Coach Kerr and then assessed the technical foul,” Goble said. “I thought I had verbalized to the table that the technical foul was on Coach Kerr. … I should have done a better job of making sure that the table knew the technical foul was on Coach Kerr.”

Green went 50 shades of outraged when he got his third-quarter tech but knew it was his first.

“The first tech was on Steve, which I didn’t understand. Mike Callahan came up to John [Goble] and asked him who was the tech on and he said Kerr,” Green explained. “I knew I didn’t have a technical foul. But still trying to figure out why did I get the second one.”

That was just one moment. Mega superstars LeBron James and Kevin Durant got into a heated jawing match. Iman Shumpert and Zaza Pachulia went to the floor in a scrum and Pachulia appeared to hit the wingman in the groin.

“At the end of the day, the game is supposed to be played physically. Both teams were wanting to put themselves in the record books and put themselves in basketball history,” James said. “So try to do whatever it takes to win.”

And use whatever motivation you can. Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving claimed he read comments from the Warriors about clinching in Cleveland.

“We’re in The Finals. Everything is accessible. Social media is everywhere,” said Irving, who scored 40 points. “Definitely heard the chatter.”

That chatter, Irving said, “adds some extra motivation.” And it irked him thinking “they would have celebrated on our home floor.”