OAKLAND, Calif. — From the moment Game 1 of the NBA Finals tips off Thursday evening, Draymond Green will be on notice. The league opted not to suspend him for his kick to the groin of Steven Adams during Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder, but they upgraded that foul to a Flagrant 2, putting him one flagrant point away from a suspension. One more flagrant foul of any kind and Green will be out a game in the Finals, where the Golden State Warriors are facing the Cleveland Cavaliers. And this time, the stakes are even higher.
Green isn’t too worried about it.
“No,” he said when asked Thursday morning at shootaround whether it’s on his mind to be more careful to avoid a suspension. “I’m aware of it, but…no.”
A suspension for Green in this series would be a game-changer. Against a Cavs team without a lot of reliable interior defenders, he’s even tougher than normal to handle, and he’ll likely spend some time on LeBron James at the other end alongside Andre Iguodala.
Another Green collision with Adams in Game 7 of the Thunder series could very easily have been ruled a flagrant, but wasn’t. Whether Green admits it or not, he has to be mindful not to get suspended. The question is whether that will interfere with him playing the way he usually plays, after he was so effective in the final three games of the Western Conference Finals.