On Sunday, the NBA announced that it had suspended Draymond Green for game 5 of the NBA Finals, for hitting LeBron James in the groin. The announcement had an immediate impact on the online NBA sports betting odds because of the impact that Green has on both sides of the ball.
On the play that resulted in the suspension, James and Green were tangled up and Green fell to the ground. James decided to step over Green, which Green didn’t appreciate, leading to him flailing his hand and hitting James in the groin. After the play, both players got in each other’s face, but they were separated by teammates and referees, and both were issued personal fouls.
The NBA reviewed the play and upgraded James’ foul to a technical foul, and Green’s to a flagrant 1, despite the altercation being initiated by James.
The NBA then announced that since Green had four previous flagrant fouls, he was automatically suspended for game 5. Most unbiased basketball fans can tell that the league is trying to protect James, while giving the Cavaliers an easier chance to keep the series alive.
At the same time, it is hard to feel bad about Green being suspended for one game, since he has also gotten away with a few questionable plays during the playoffs. The most notable game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, when Green kicked Steven Adams in the groin after losing the ball in the paint.
After the play, Green said the kick was inadvertent and that his leg went up in the air as part of his follow through. The league either seemed to buy Green’s explanation or wanted the Warriors to be at full strength as they faced elimination by the Thunder in that series.
Green still had to pay a $25,000 fine for the kick. With Green avoiding suspension, the Warriors were able to come back from a 3-1 deficit and defeat the Thunder. Now, they will try to close out a 3-1 lead without the services of their emotional leader.
Green was also caught placing a kick in Adams’ groin in game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, but he wasn’t whistled for a foul, and the play was not reviewed by the league office.
Even without Green, the Warriors still have a good chance of winning the NBA Finals on Monday night because Andre Iguodala is more than capable of filling in for Green. With the Warriors playing at home, the Cavaliers will also have to deal with the crowd noise at one of the loudest arenas in the league.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson snapped out of their funk in game 4, and will definitely shoot the ball better in front of their home crowd, which will be a problem for Cleveland, especially if they are connecting well on three pointers.
Without Green in the lineup, Kevin Love will have a little more freedom because he won’t have to worry about guarding Green, or having to worry about taking a shot to the groin.
If the Warriors win without Green on Monday, the Warriors will win their second consecutive championship, and Cleveland fans, who called last season’s championship a fluke because the Cavs didn’t have Kyrie Irving or Kevin Love, will have no more excuses to use.