Lo and behold, Green was suspended for Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
So, Cleveland go its way?
The Cavs wanted him suspended for two games. I can tell you that. They wanted it to be a flagrant 2 and to have him suspended for Game 5 and Game 6.
The league got it right. The retroactively assigned flagrant 1 triggered a one-game suspension due to Green’s prior playoff flagrants. A flagrant 2, which would’ve triggered a two-game suspension, would’ve been too harsh for Green’s retaliation.
I also suspect the Cavaliers probably knew that. But by pushing for a flagrant 2, they framed a flagrant 1 as a compromise outcome – much the same way Green and Steve Kerr said Green’s flagrant 1 for kicking Steven Adams‘ groin should have been rescinded. The NBA upgraded it to a flagrant 2 – another compromise decision when a straight suspension appeared to be on the table.
Lobbying the NBA on these decisions has become part of a championship pursuit. The Cavs had the advantage of facts on their side, but by aiming high, they successfully framed the argument in their favor – and it paid off in Game 5.