The Golden State Warriors have their backs against the wall in the first round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs. The No. 3 seed Sacramento Kings hold a 2-0 lead on the defending champions from the Bay Area, and now the Warriors are going to be without one of their key players because of a controversial suspension as the series returns to Golden State for Game 3.
Draymond Green has been suspended for the pivotal Game 3 after stomping on the chest of Kings’ big man Domantas Sabonis and instigating the crowd in Sacramento during a chaotic fourth quarter in Game 2. Green was called for a flagrant-2 foul and subsequently ejected, and the Kings closed out to the game to earn a 114-106 victory.
Green’s suspension — which was announced late Wednesday night — registered as a surprise to most around the league. Earlier in the day, NBA insider Shams Charania reported that it was unlikely Green would be suspended (the tweet has since been deleted). Sports Illustrated reporter Chris Herring said he thought there was a 10-15 percent Green would be suspended after Game 2.
Green’s history as an instigator played a role in his suspension, according to NBA executive vice president and head of basketball operations, Joe Dumars. Dumars spoke to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Wednesday and detailed the thought process behind suspending him for such an important game:
Here’s what it came down to: excessive and over-the-top actions, conduct detrimental and a repeat offender,” Dumars told ESPN in a phone interview Wednesday morning. “That’s what separates this where you end up with a suspension.
“You know what the situation is, but you have to set that aside and look at the facts in front of you. … Repeat offender weighs as heavy as anything.”
Green was ejected during the most tense moments of Game 2. The Kings led 91-87 with 7:03 remaining in regulation when Green and Sabonis got tangled up under the basket after a Kings miss. Sabonis grabbed Green’s leg with his back on the ground, and Green responded by stomping on him. After a lengthy delay, Green was given a flagrant-2 foul and automatic ejection, while Sabonis was called for a technical foul. Here’s another look at the play:
Green’s reaction after the play might have been just as damning as the stomp itself. Green started taunting Kings fans as the officials reviewed the play. NBA commissioner Adam Silver was in the arena and had a front-row seat to Green instigating the crowd.
“That was some extra onto it that he didn’t need to do,” Dumars told ESPN. “Not helpful.”
Here’s the NBA’s full statement on Green’s suspension:
This is the fourth time Green has been suspended over the course of his career, and the second time it’s happened in the playoffs. Green was famously suspended for Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals after hitting LeBron James in the groin with the Warriors holding a 3-1 series lead against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs would win Game 5 and go on to win the series.
Green avoided a suspension for one of his most infamous moments. Back in 2016 NBA Playoffs, Green kicked Oklahoma City Thunder big man Steven Adams in the groin as he attempted a shot. Read Yaron Weitzman on why Green wasn’t suspended for the kick, and watch video of the play below:
The Warriors’ dynasty is on the brink without Draymond Green in Game 3
Could this be the Warriors’ last dance? It’s certainly possible if they lose a first round series to the Kings, and now that feels totally possible with the team in an 0-2 hole and without Green in Game 3.
Green, who recently turned 33 years old, has a player option for $27.5 million next season. Green wants a new long-term deal, but that’s going to be hard for the Warriors to stomach given the enormous luxury tax bill the team is already paying. By the way, lead Warriors executive Bob Meyers also doesn’t have a contract for next season.
Even Stephen Curry sounds like he knows this could be it if the team doesn’t performance. This quote is from The Athletic after Curry was asked about where his head is at before the playoffs began:
“That it’s not the last time,” Curry said after practice on Wednesday. “But it doesn’t really matter right now. We understand the implications. I think Draymond said the other day we’re measured by how we play in the playoffs. Just the fact that we got through 82 (games),6 seed and all that … it was an emotional roller coaster all year. But the implications on how our season finishes, we understand (that) it kind of dictates a lot of the conversation around us and always has.
“We’ve just had tremendous success in letting our play speak for what should happen around here. So that’s the same way your approach this season, this playoff run. Because this business, it is what it is. And there’s a lot that gets thrown at you emotionally of what could be or what might happen or whatever the hypotheticals. But when we win, everybody gets rewarded. And that’s what our goal is. Trying to make that happen.”
The Warriors’ season started with a Draymond Green controversy when he punched teammate Jordan Poole in the face during a practice in training camp. Someone leaked a video of the incident, which ignited a new wave of outrage days after it happened. Could Golden State’s season end because of a Green controversy, too?
The Warriors need to dig deep and find a way to win at home against the Kings in Game 3. If they can’t, Green’s stomp really might be the end of the Warriors as we know them.
Source : SBNation