Warriors sound off over Draymond Green suspension

Nobody was saying it plainly, but it’s clear that the Warriors feel that LeBron James and the Cavaliers had a plan to remove Draymond Green from Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

Warriors all-star guard Klay Thompson laughed as he reacted to the sequence that ultimately ended with Green being assessed for a flagrant foul, which also resulted in Green’s suspension for one game:

“I mean, they got tangled up. I didn’t even get to see the whole play. I saw them barking at each other, but it’s nothing — I mean, guys talk trash in this league all the time. I’m just kind of shocked some guys take it so personal. It’s like, I mean, you know, it’s a man’s league and I’ve heard a lot of bad things on that court, but at the end of the day it stays on the court. … I Guess (LeBron’s) feelings got hurt.”

Thompson added:

“From what I saw out there, it just looked incidental. But whatever he did in Game 4 was not on purpose. So he was not trying to — Draymond’s a very intelligent player. He was by no means trying to get thrown out.”

Green was tossed to the floor by LeBron James in Game 4 of the NBA Finals Friday night, and James walked over him. Golden State’s starting power forward reacted to James by tapping him twice, once just below the belt, and once on the shoulder.

James said after the game that he and the team only saw the video after the game, and didn’t realize the first tap, which appeared to land in the vicinity of James’ groin area. James showed no sign of pain or discomfort from the first tap.

When asked about the incident, James deflected and refused to say whether he or any of his teammates were attempting to have Green disqualified, a certain competitive advantage for the Cavaliers to have arguably the league’s best forwards ineligible.

NBA rules limit a player to six technical fouls before a seventh results in a one game suspension, and two Flagrant 1’s, or one Flagrant 1, and one Flagrant 2, resulting in a one game suspension.

Green was charged with a Flagrant 2 during the Western Conference Finals, when he flailed his left leg, which inadvertently landed in Thunder center Steven Adams‘ crotch. The Warriors have played 21 playoff games, and Golden State head coach Steve Kerr mentioned that the current cumulative playoffs rules regarding suspensions:

“I do think it’s curious that somebody who gets knocked out in the first round and who’s been on vacation for seven weeks is under the same penalty system as somebody who is still playing in The Finals now. I’m not sure why that is the case. It seems like a strange rule. It’s not anything we’re going to bring up with the league. Maybe it’s something to talk about in the off-season. It does seem a little strange.”

James laughed when he was told of Thompson’s comments, specifically that his “feelings got hurt,” and essentially refused to comment, saying:

“It’s so hard to take the high road. I’ve been doing it for 13 years. And I’m going to do it again.”

James’ media availability was full of no-comments, but when he refused to answer whether there was any intent or hope to have Green suspended for one or more games, something he seemed to lobby for right after Game 4.

The Warriors will have to use more personnel for more minutes than they’ve shown any level of comfort with, though it’s possible Andre Iguodala and Harrison Barnes both play big minutes. The two would usually sub out for each other.

Two time MVP Stephen Curry said:

“You see every game what he brings, the energy, the defensive presence. He’s a playmaker with the ball in his hands, and he’s a proven All-Star that’s done a lot for our team this year. So we’ll obviously miss his impact and the intangibles that he brings to the game. We’re going to have to have somebody step up and do it by committee to replace that effort.”

The Green-less Warriors face off against Cleveland at Oracle Arena Monday night with a 6 p.m. tip-off.


Jason Leskiw is SFBay’s Golden State Warriors beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @LeskiwSFBay on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Warriors basketball.