I have been doing analysis on the 2016 NBA Finals and its various aspects throughout the course of these past couple of weeks. The topic I would like to focus on today is something that fans will cite as a reason the Warriors lost.
UPDATE 2023: This article serves even more relevance present-day with Draymond Green getting another one-game suspension (for Game 3) against the Sacramento Kings in their round-one series. He stomped on a player’s lungs.
Firstly, here are all of my previous topics you are welcome to read about! Just click the link of choice!
The Block (LeBron)
The Made Foul Shot (LeBron)
The Questionable No-Call (LeBron driving to the hoop)
The One in 3-1 (Cavs winning G3)
In the final moments of Game 4, Draymond Green appears to strike LeBron in the groin area. He got a Flagrant One because of it. Kiki VanDeWeghe (Executive VP of Basketball Operations) was questioned on the situation. It’s a bit of a lengthy response…
Q: Kiki, how much did Draymond’s personal history with these kinds of situations come into play?
A: “Obviously that’s something that can factor in, given the next day (of deliberating). That’s one of the advantages we have over the referees, is we can look at a lot of comparables, we can look at the history, we can look at the investigator’s reports because we have professional investigators. It’s a long process. They talk to the players. They talk to the referees in the replay center. I talk to the referees in the replay center as well. Again, what’s important is that this was – you look at this play on a standalone basis – other things were going on in the game, obviously – but this was viewed as a Flagrant One on its own. It wasn’t that we suspended him, it was that it triggered the suspension. And so we have our rules and our point system is in place, everybody knows it. Draymond was on notice, certainly, and certainly after the last contact to the groin with Adams, so what’s important I think is to understand that this was one point, it was viewed as a Flagrant One, and you can’t make an exception. You have to do the right thing for the play.”
Thus, in Game 5 the Warriors had no Draymond Green. Certainly, that gave the Cavs some sort of advantage because Green is a solid player, especially on the defensive end and such. There is no way of truly knowing if the Warriors take Game 5 if Green plays or not.
The Cavs did win on the road by a score of 112-97. Kyrie Irving and LeBron each dropped 41 en route to the victory.
Now, the biggest defense, pardon the pun, against this argument is that it was…
Draymond Green was back for both Game 6 and Game 7. Also, a small nuance is the Cavs did not have PF Kevin Love for Game 3 (Concussion) and they managed to win that one and eventually the series itself.
Certainly, the suspension helped the Cavs. But maybe don’t wack a guy in the nuts, Draymond? That would’ve kept you on the floor.
Draymond Green or not, the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead and that’s that fact.