Draymond Green has been assessed a retroactive flagrant-1 foul following game 4 of the NBA Finals, and because of this has been suspended for game 5, scheduled for Monday night.
The play in question came with less than three minutes left in Golden State's 108-97 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, when Green and LeBron James got tangled. James stepped over Green after the Warriors forward fell to the court, and Green swung his arm and appeared to make contact with James' groin area. James immediately turned around, and the two players went chest-to-chest as play continued.
The NBA called Green's action a "retaliatory swipe of his hand to the groin" of James.
The flagrant 1 gave Green his fourth flagrant foul point of the playoffs, which carries an automatic suspension.
Green has been frequently admonished by the media for questionable play during these playoffs. His controversial play most recently surfaced during the Western Conference Finals where his repeated unintentional contact with his feet/legs have drawn the attention by the media and the league, although Green was able to avoid any suspension during the 7 game series vs the Thunder.
NBA EVP of Basketball Operations Kiki VanDeWeghe released the following statement:
"The cumulative points system is designed to deter flagrant fouls in our game...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."
Here is Warriors coach Steve Kerr's reaction:
Steve Kerr on Draymond Green's suspension & who he plans to start in Game 5... https://t.co/fsb080PrQX— NBA TV (@NBATV) June 12, 2016
In a cruel twist, if the Warriors are able to win the title Monday night, Green will not even be allowed in the arena to celebrate with his team. Business Insider's Scott Davis writes:
...Green is not allowed to be at the arena. The Warriors lead the Cavaliers 3-1 with a chance to win the championship on their home floor in Oakland, California, Monday night. That means, if the Warriors win, even without Green, he can't be there for the championship celebration.
Now Green could attend the game anyway, but it comes with a harsh punishment, according to Windhorst: He'll be docked a game check. For Green, that's a $140,000 fine.
So Green now faces a difficult task: Does he show up to the arena anyway, accept the fine, and hope the Warriors wrap up the series so he can be there for the celebration? Or does he watch from home, knowing he may miss out on celebrating a season's worth of work? If he decides to show up, he runs the risk of losing $140,000 and watching the Warriors lose the game anyway, sending the series back to Cleveland for Game 6.
In a Finals series with far less drama than the Western Conference Finals, game 5 has been transformed into something that could radically alter the trajectory of the series' outcome.
(Why are we posting this here? I think you know why. Do I have some opinion on the matter? You bet. But I take the res ipsa loquitor approach here and am just reporting the facts, and those facts speak for themselves. You don't need me to hold your hand to fill in the blanks.)