It will be the sports talk radio topic of the day:
Did Draymond Green intentionally kick Steven Adams in the “groin” during Sunday night’s Thunder win? And if the Cavaliers’ Dahntay Jones was given a suspension for a blow to Bismack Biyombo‘s nether regions, should Green be suspended for Game 4?
Don’t bet on it.
For his part, Green said not only was the kick unintentional he thinks the call will be rescinded. Steve Kerr said the same thing. While the rescinded part is laughable — the NBA’s flagrant foul is defined as “unnecessary contact committed by a player against an opponent” and this certainly qualifies — Green’s postgame quotes were that this was a natural part of his shooting motion after he was fouled and not intentional.
“I was following through on the shot, and my leg went up. So no, I don’t think I’ll be suspended since I don’t know how anyone could possibly say I did that on purpose regardless of the way it may look.”
For the foul to be considered a flagrant 2 and worthy of a suspension, it would need to be considered “unnecessary and excessive” — usually meaning the league thinks it’s intentional.
Russell Westbrook and many the Thunder players said after the game they did believe that it seemed intentional. They noted this was the second game in a row Green caught Adams down there, although no foul was called on the play in Game 2.
Thunder fans leading the pro-suspension call point to Cleveland’s Dahntay Jones getting a one-game suspension from the league for a blow to Bismack Biyombo’s groin at the end of the Raptors’ Game 3 win. But that comparison doesn’t hold up on several levels. For one, while Jones tried to be subtle, watching the video shows a clearly intentional arm swing to make that blow happen (the intent on Green’s move is up for debate). Second, Jones’ long history of cheap shots and his reputation for them played into the league’s decision.
Finally, the suspension of Jones was less painful to him than a fine. Jones signed with Cleveland for the playoffs, right at the end of the regular season, so his salary for the year was just $8,819. As noted by former Nets executive Bobby Marks of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports, the fine is 110th of that — or $80.17. If they league wanted to hurt Jones they would have fined him, it would have cost him his entire season’s salary. They didn’t. The league took the less painful path (and Jones is not part of the team’s playoff rotation, he’s only in for garbage time).
The league most likely lets the call stand as a flagrant 1, and maybe they tack on a fine for Green. But don’t bet on a suspension.
That said, the league can be hard to predict when it comes to fines and suspensions, it is possible Green gets one. If so, the series changes because with Green out it’s unlikely the Warriors could win Game 4 Thursday. And if Golden State goes down 3-1 in this series, it’s hard to picture them advancing.