When the NBA handed Draymond Green a one-game suspension for Game 5 of the NBA Finals, I was baffled by the decision. This is the accumulation of four flagrant fouls, which the league deemed was worthy after what happened above.
The officials didn’t rule it that way during the game and it only came after nearly two days of reviewing.
“The cumulative points system is designed to deter flagrant fouls in our game,” NBA Vice President of Basketball Operations Kiki VanDeWeghe said in statement. “While Draymond Green’s actions in Game 4 do not merit a suspension as a standalone act, the number of flagrant points he has earned triggers a suspension for Game 5.”
My problem with this ruling is that there was actually nothing Green did that was worthy of a flagrant foul. The first issue was that LeBron James stepped over Green, which is an act of taunting. James received no penalty for that. As Green went to get up, his hand appeared to hit James in the crotch. Maybe it connected, maybe it didn’t. But in the heat of the moment, I can see why the league might think that Green went for it. But Green isn’t even looking at where his hand was — he was simply trying to get up (and get James off) so he can confront James face to face.
That’s how I see it. Green’s history from the last round may have been what did it for him but what he did to James is nothing. And it’s unfair that James did not receive any harsher punishment for stepping over someone other than a technical. His own coach was a victim of that years ago. We know what stepping over someone means and what it incites. And James intentionally baited it too with his action.
But this is the league trying to play tough but also extend the series. Green won’t be able to even be in the building for Game 5. But I am sure once that game is over, Green will return to the locker room. Or he might be on the court celebrating another championship with his team.
Either way, the Warriors are still the better team and will put their best to finish this series on Monday.