The NBA had to do something. And not because Draymond Green’s reaction warranted a suspension, in fact it looked like he was just throwing his arms forward in frustration after being walked over by Lebron James*. The NBA needed to do something to prevent Golden State from ruining the massive opportunity the NBA and Disney had to make exorbitant amounts of money. With the Warriors headed back to Oracle Arena, sure to close out the NBA finals in Game 5 in front of their home fans, the NBA needed to step in and ensure that this series went to 6 or 7 games. And, despite the Cavs lackluster performance in the 4th quarter of Game 4, the Cavaliers have been dominant on their home court this post season. This allows the NBA to forgo the temptation to give Green a Flagrant 2, which would cause a two game suspension for Green and would surely illicit questions and draw out conspiracy theorists, and instead the NBA can trust the Cavs to take care of a Green-less Warriors, even in Oakland, as well as the Cavs to handle their business at home. This way, the NBA and Disney can make the maximum amount of money possible and, honestly, the fans will now potentially have the opportunity to get to watch a coveted Game 7 in the NBA Finals. Everyone wins (except the Warriors and their fans).
This retroactive act which is effectively a suspension, does show the power the NBA has to control a series, however. When faced with a decision on whether or not to suspend Draymond Green for what clearly was a kick to Steven Adams’ groin that didn’t need to connect so hard, the Warriors were down 3-1 vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder. As previously noted, the NBA makes far more money having a longer series and in this instance, the NBA decided not to seriously jeopardize the Warriors’ chances of extending the Conference Finals series and opted to only give Draymond a Flagrant 2. Once the script was flipped and Green was on the team with a 3-1 lead, the NBA needed to ensure that the “life-blood” of the Warriors sat out Game 5 to allow the Cavs the opportunity to extend the series. The NBA could have instead given a double technical to both Green and James for getting after each other but that would have allowed Green to play. Honestly, a double Flagrant 1 should have been the call*, but in arguing that case, Draymond Green would have still been suspended and the article wouldn’t have been nearly as fun to write. Here’s to the NBA giving us the opportunity to see Game 7 just so long as their maneuver doesn’t ignite a fire under the Warriors and have them close out the series in 5.
*Lebron James got a retroactive technical foul for walking over Green when just before, James pulled a WWE move to throw Draymond to the ground and wasn’t even awarded a simple foul, let alone a much deserved Flagrant 1.