The NBA dropped a bomb on the basketball world when they suspended Draymond Green for Game 5 of the NBA Finals. It was the result of getting his 3rd flagrant foul of the playoffs, one that was given to him retroactively by the league for hitting LeBron James in the groin as James stepped over him during the 4th quarter of Game 4. Here’s the play in question:
I understand that Draymond had been warned by the league, and that he has already displayed poor judgment and an affinity for attacking the nuts of other players during these playoffs, but I’ve got to say that this is pretty weak. There’s not a player in the league that wouldn’t have responded in similar fashion and the contact with LeBron’s groin area looks incidental.
I thought this when I first heard about the suspension and I think it now; The league made this move solely to try and ensure a Game 6. And it worked! Here are a few reactions to the suspension that I tend to agree with.
Would bet my right arm if this series was even at 2-2 Draymond wouldn’t be suspended for GM5. What happened in OKC was way worse..
— Reggie Miller (@ReggieMillerTNT) June 12, 2016
I guess you cant touch Lebron 😒
— Nemanja Nedovic (@nedovic1624) June 12, 2016
Last night the Cavaliers won Game 6 on the road in decisive fashion, by a score of 112-97. For most of the game it was closer but the Cavs pulled away in the second half and the absence of Draymond Green was noticeable. So noticeable that LeBron James and Kyrie Irving became the first teammates ever to both score more than 40 points in an NBA Finals game. That’s not to take anything away from the fact that they stepped it up when it really mattered, but you can’t help but think that things would have gone differently with Green on the floor. And you can’t deny that the Golden State Warriors were hindered by their inability to switch on defense without him.
This was a masterful orchestration by the NBA that seems to have gone according to plan. On the brink of another short NBA Finals series, the league had to be nervous about all the money they would be losing out on without a Game 6 or 7. They found something that wasn’t even called during the game and used it to severely hinder the Warriors hopes of winning their second consecutive NBA Championship on their home court. Way to go guys.
It’s totally reasonable to think that the Cavs could have still won Game 5 with Draymond on the floor, especially when you factor in the performances of James, who was in vintage form. He found an outside shot that has been missing from his repertoire for quite some time now. He was on fire and deserves a ton of credit for sending the series back to Cleveland, and putting the Warriors’ chances of going back-to-back in jeopardy.
But you have to think that the NBA should get a little credit too. By suspending Draymond Green they took just a little bit of the decision of the game’s outcome out of the player’s hands and off the basketball court and put it in the hands of the league. And that’s not good for the game of basketball or the NBA.