The Golden State Warriors won Game 4 of the NBA Finals over the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday night to take a controlling 3-1 series lead.
And while the Warriors have a chance to win back-to-back championships in Game 5 on Monday, there is once again drama swirling around Draymond Green that puts him at risk of missing Game 5.
During the fourth quarter of an intense game, Green and LeBron James got tangled up at the top of the key while Green was setting a screen. James appeared to shove Green, who then fell down in front of James. As James tried to step over Green, Green appeared to swing his hand up toward James’ groin. Green then got up and shoved James, and the two went face to face as the play went on.
Moments later, both players got tangled up chasing a rebound and were assessed double fouls. As the two began exchanging words, Green said something and walked away and James had to be restrained from going after him.
Here’s the play:
This is the latest altercation this postseason for Green. The first notable incident came in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals when Green appeared to give extra follow-through on a kick that hit Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams in the groin. The league reviewed the play and gave Green a flagrant one foul.
While some considered Green lucky to not be suspended for the kick, it put him on precarious ground. One more technical foul or flagrant foul and Green will be suspended. A flagrant two foul would suspend him for two games.
After the game, James explained the confrontation and suggested Green said something that went over the line. ESPN reported that Green called James a “b—-.”
“You know, Draymond just said something that I don’t agree with,” James said. “I’m all cool with the competition. I’m all fine with that, but some of the words that came out of his mouth were a little bit overboard, and being a guy with pride, a guy with three kids and a family, things of that nature, some things just go overboard and that’s where he took it, and that was it.”
James was also asked after the game what should happen to Green for the incident.
“I don’t know what should happen. It’s not my call. That’s the league office. They will take a look at it. We all saw it in the locker room. You know, like I said, as a competitor, I love going against Draymond, and I’m all about going out there and leaving it out on the floor. But when it gets a little bit more than what it should be, that’s what caused me to have words with him.”
Green told ESPN’s The Undefeated that he felt disrespected by James stepping over him at the beginning of the play.
“[James] stepped over me and I felt like that was disrespectful,” Green said. “I don’t disrespect you on the court. Don’t disrespect me. There’s no love lost. It is what it is. It’s a battle out there. I’m going to battle with whoever it is.
“We had our words. I said what I had to say and he said what he had to say. Move on. I’m not going to sit there and argue with him. I know what position I’m in, in terms of double techs and stuff. Just move on from it.”
It’s a perilous time for Green and the Warriors now. While they own a two-game lead and are returning to their home court, if the league reviews Green’s play and deems any of it a flagrant, he’ll be suspended. Even for the Warriors, who have looked convincingly like the better team this Finals, the task of putting down James and the Cavs grows increasingly tougher without Green.
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