Draymond Green has been suspended for Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday, this after the NBA gave him a flagrant foul for his actions in the final minutes of Game 4. Green got into a tussle with LeBron James last Friday, with Green swinging his arm and appearing to make contact with James’ groin. The two wound up chest-to-chest and face-to-face and had a heated exchange as play continued.
This marks Green’s fourth flagrant foul of the postseason, which merits an automatic one-game suspension.
Was this the right move by the NBA?
“It was the least that they could give him in this situation,” CBS Sports NBA writer Matt Moore said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “The fact that he’s a repeat offender with this particular type of action, I think, obviously played a part, and I think the fact that there’s no real way to look at the action and say that it was part of a basketball move (played a factor as well). So because it made contact and because they set a precedent with Dahntay Jones in a very similar type of situation, I think they felt compelled to assign him something. And had Green not had the limit of flagrants, he wouldn’t be suspended. But because he does, that allows them to say, ‘Well, we didn’t suspend him. He had the flagrants.’ So it gets them off the hook while also punishing him and costing him the game.”
James, to be fair, seemed at fault as well, as he stepped over Green before Green’s swipe.
“James’ actions clearly weren’t good,” Moore said. “No one comes out well in this situation or the little back and forth today in the media, especially today given everything that’s gone on.”
The Warriors still lead the series 3-1, but Cleveland has been much more competitive as of late, winning Game 3 by 30 points and pushing Golden State to the brink in Game 4 before ultimately coming up short.
Green’s absence could have a major impact on the outcome of Game 5, which tips off at 9 p.m. ET.
“It’s interesting,” Moore said. “Green has been a big part of how they have solved LeBron James in this series and last year. Their ability to play small and for him to protect at the rim and switch constantly helps them a lot with giving LeBron James the problems that they have defensively. Green has been there to disrupt his dribble, to challenge him at the rim and to do those things. Without him, they’ll play bigger and that’s going to play more into the Cavs’ hands.
“So this could wind up swinging Game 5,” Moore continued. “It gives no indication that it will swing the series. I actually kind of believe the Warriors will win (Game 5) simply based off of the momentum and the fact that teams down 3-1 tend to roll over on the road. But it does certainly change the dynamics of how those matchups play out.”