LeBron James exchanges words with Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) during the fourth quarter of Game 4 Friday night. (David Richard/USA Today Sports)
This time, Draymond Green went too far.
The Golden State bad-boy forward was assessed a Flagrant Foul 1 on Sunday for his entanglement and swipe to the groin of LeBron James with under three minutes left in Game 4 Friday night in Cleveland. The announcement was made Sunday by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.
“The incident occurred when Green made unnecessary contact with a retaliatory swipe of his hand to the groin of Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James with 2:48 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Warriors’ 108-97 win in Game 4 of The Finals at Quicken Loans Arena,” the league said in its press release.
“In accordance with NBA rules, Green will serve a one-game suspension without pay for accruing his fourth Flagrant Foul point of the 2016 postseason. He will serve his suspension Monday, June 13 during Game 5 of The Finals at Oracle Arena.”
The video clearly shows Green setting a high screen on James. When Green fell to the ground, James appeared to deliberately straddle Green’s head in an effort to draw the confrontation. By the decision handed out from the NBA Sunday, it worked.
The Warriors, who took a 3 games to 1 lead with a win Friday night in Cleveland, have a chance to clinch their second straight NBA title Monday night. But now they will have to do so without their best rebounder and best low-post defender.
Green, after run-ins with the likes of Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams in Game 3 of the Western finals, has built up negative points with the league during the Warriors’ playoff run, and it culminated with discipline on Sunday.
Under league rules, any player who accumulates four flagrant foul points over the course of the playoffs will be automatically suspended for one game, and every additional flagrant foul will result in either a one-game suspension (for a Flagrant Foul 1) or a two-game suspension (for a Flagrant Foul 2).
“The cumulative points system is designed to deter flagrant fouls in our game” said VanDeWeghe in the league 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.”
James was also assessed a technical foul upon league office review for his role in the altercation, which included a physical taunt.
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