Nothing Golden State says will change the fact it will step on its home court tonight desperate for a win in a series where the Warriors trail 0-2, and need to find a way to stop the best offense in the NBA this season while missing their best defender.
But they are pissed about it.
Draymond Green was suspended for Game 3 after stepping on the chest of Domantas Sabonis — and the Warriors think it was unfair. This is what level-headed Steve Kerr said on the record:
“I was extremely surprised. And then, immediately into, ‘All right, what’s next? How do we win the game?'”
Off the record, people around the Warriors are pissed off about the decision, seeing it as a step too far. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski used the word “livid” to describe their reaction on “Get Up.”
“Consider the Warriors, in one word, livid. They certainly didn’t agree with the one-game suspension, I think they were surprised at it. No question about that — they certainly went through this in the Finals with Cleveland, losing Draymond Green for a game in 2016. But they’re gonna have to live with it. There’s really nowhere to go with an appeal in these situations … I think there were a lot of people who believed, perhaps, that the ruling on the court was going to stand”
ESPN’s Zach Lowe put it this way on his podcast: “The Warriors were shocked and caught off guard last night. There is some anger within the organization toward the league. There’s a sense in the organization that Sabonis is shoving people on offensive rebounds and playing with his elbows out and using the ball as a weapon on offense. ‘So of course someone eventually retaliated.’ You can give that any validity you want.”
The Warriors believed some of the other factors around Green’s action — the fact Domantas Sabonis instigated it by grabbing Green’s leg, or that Green missed more than seven minutes in a close game that ended in a Warriors’ loss — would lead to a fine for Green but not a suspension. However, NBA VP Joe Dumars said that Green’s history led to the suspension.
This is the price for how Green wants to dance along the edge of what is acceptable. I have said I didn’t think this warranted a suspension, considering the price Green paid with the Game 2 ejection, but when you put yourself in a position for the league to make the call, you’re not always going to like all the results. This still comes back to Green, his actions (past and present), and it didn’t help to have him running around the court playing WWE heel and hyping up the crowd — in front of Adam Silver — while the play was under review. The lack of remorse does not help Green’s cause.
Some hard decisions are coming up about the Warriors this offseason (starting with if Bob Myers will be back as GM, he is without a contract). The Warriors chose to extend the contracts of Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole (who has struggled in the postseason) last summer and not Green, who has a $27.6 million player option for next season. Can the sides work out a deal under a new NBA CBA that comes down hard teams over the second apron above the tax line (like the Warriors)? One thing that is clear through the first two games of the postseason is how much Green still means to this roster. Can they afford to let him go?
The Warriors will get a glimpse of life without Green in games that matter on Wednesday.