SAN FRANCISCO -- Draymond Green knew he needed to get his team right in the second quarter of the Golden State Warriors' game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night.
In the midst of an underwhelming first half in a contest that had important bearing on the playoff race, the Warriors lacked energy and focus. They had committed 14 turnovers to that point. They could not slow New Orleans. They were trailing by 19 points.
So Green lit a fire.
"Draymond willed us to victory tonight," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after their 120-109 win. "Just the intensity, the frustration early with the way we were playing. Mad at the world, yelling at everybody -- their bench, our bench, me -- and frankly, we deserved it."
Green's first spark came with 3:45 remaining in the second quarter when he picked up his 17th technical foul.
After Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram drove from the perimeter toward the basket, Green appeared to lower his shoulder and shove Ingram. As Ingram made his way from the baseline back onto the court, he approached Green and the two exchanged words, resulting in some shoving.
They were issued T's, and Green also was assessed a flagrant foul 1 for the shove.
Green will be fined $5,000 if the technical foul isn't rescinded over the next 24 hours -- which Green believes should happen. But even if it doesn't, he said it was worth it to him.
"It was perfect. Perfectly executed," Green said. "We looked dead those first 18 minutes. We had to find some energy somewhere. It wasn't just going to come, especially after losing the game like we did last game; that can carry over. I felt like it did. I knew we had to do something and do it fast before the game got out of hand."
About 20 seconds later, Green almost picked up another technical foul after a clash with Herbert Jones. As Green drove for a layup, he collided with Jones and landed on top of him. The two got tangled up before being separated.
More shoving from multiple players ensued before referees and team security broke up the scrum. After a long video review, no T's were assessed.
"I've got to play with the same intensity I try to play with each and every time I step on the court," Green said. "I can't worry about that. For me, if I'm going to change my intensity level, then why be out there?"
Green frequently says things to get his teammates going. He said he believed his teammates had his back until an altercation with Jordan Pooleearlier this season left him with doubts.
"At the point that I'm going to put myself out there like that, you hope guys will back me up," Green said. "If not, then our season's over anyways."
Following Green's run-in with Jones, Stephen Curry got involved in the scrum, yelling back at Pelicans players and throwing a few shoves.
"He knows that guys are backing him up," Curry said. "I'm sure [Green] wouldn't go out on an island like that if he didn't have that confidence. ... There are times where I got to keep him in check and bring him back in when it's turning in the wrong direction in the sense of staying focused on just winning."
The Warriors trailed by as much as 20 points -- 17 in the first half. But they outscored the Pelicans 74-46 in the second half, including shooting 70% on their way to their second-biggest comeback of the season.
Curry scored 22 of his 38 points in the second half. He scored or assisted on 58 of 120 points (48%) for the Warriors, including 37 of 74 (50%) in the second half.
He was the Warriors' main source of shot creations, going 8-of-14 from the floor off the dribble while his teammates converted 8 of 11 shots off his passes.
"When I turned it up a notch, [Curry] turned it up another two notches," Green said. "... We all hopped in line and followed him, and he was locked in. No one was stopping him."
Tuesday's matchup had a playoff energy to it, whether from the chippiness of both teams, the atmosphere within Chase Center or the importance of the game for each squad.
With the win, Golden State moved back into the sixth seed in the Western Conference with a half-game advantage on the Minnesota Timberwolves in seventh.
But each remaining game in the regular season will have a postseason atmosphere and pressure to it.
"It feels like we've been in a playoff vibe for a couple weeks now," Curry said. "The only difference is you're playing a different team every night. But it's the same kind of adrenaline rush that we're getting. Every game does matter."