National Basketball Association
The real reason Draymond Green was suspended for Game 5
National Basketball Association

The real reason Draymond Green was suspended for Game 5

Published Jun. 13, 2016 1:30 p.m. ET

If it weren't for a WWE-worthy suplex on Michael Beasley, Draymond Green would be playing in Game 5 on Monday night.

That's the important distinction to make with the Golden State Warriors forward's suspension. It's not just that Green lashed out at LeBron James in Game 4. Green was suspended for a potential series-clinching game against the Cleveland Cavaliers because of a pattern of behavior this postseason.

The NBA rules make things very clear. A Flagrant 1 is worth one "point" on a player's record. A Flagrant 2 is worth two points. From there, the process is exhaustively delineated:

And that's where Green got in trouble. On April 21, in the Warriors' only loss to the Houston Rockets in the first round, Green committed a stupid foul against Beasley:


I mean, what in the world is that? The most generous interpretation is Green was trying to stop the clock, and he felt that he had to commit an egregious foul to get the official's attention. But that's way above and beyond a normal foul, and the league office agreed. Green was retroactively assessed a Flagrant 1 for the play. That's point No. 1 for this postseason.

You already know about Green's next questionable decision. More than a month later, on May 22, Green struck Oklahoma City Thunder big man Steven Adams in the groin for the second time in the Western Conference finals:

Green received a Flagrant 1 for the play at the time, but the NBA later upgraded the foul to a Flagrant 2. That's two more points, bringing Green's total after the Adams kick to 3.

Here's where things really get questionable. Green knew he was one more flagrant of either type away from a suspension. The league sends a memo to the player and his team to make sure that everyone knows what happens if there's one more aggressive act.

So even if LeBron was goading Green into making a bad decision by stepping over him, Draymond had to know better. He couldn't risk a suspension. Instead, though, he let his emotions get the better of him in Friday's Game 4:

The Warriors can call LeBron all the names in the book for what he did on that play. There's no question that Green's reaction deserved the Flagrant 1 which the league assessed after review over the weekend. That was point No. 4 on the flagrant meter for Green, which in turn meant a procedural suspension.

And Green's not completely out of the woods yet. Say the Cavs win Game 5, forcing a Game 6. And say Green commits another flagrant in that contest. He'd be suspended for a potential Game 7. Implausible? Sure. But so was the idea that Green would be suspended at any point in the Finals, and here we are.

It's certainly not a great look for the NBA that Green will be suspended for Game 5, a tilt that could potentially eliminate LeBron from the Finals and end the series in five games. There's plenty of fodder for conspiracy theorists to have a field day with the ruling. But when you break down Green's history through this postseason -- and that's before we even get to some of his other leg flails and fouls that could have been called flagrant, or the possibility that he should have been suspended for the Adams foul -- the league didn't have a choice.


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