Game 5 of the NBA Finals got a lot more interesting once the league suspended Warriors’ Power Forward Draymond Green for his altercation with LeBron James in Game 4. I’ll get more into that later, but first lets discuss what that could mean for the potential series clinching game in Oakland, California tonight.
Green has obviously been huge for the Warriors’ success this season, but we don’t need to be reminded how deep this team truly is. Green’s importance may not always be evident on the stat sheet, but his presence and toughness is something the Warriors will obviously miss. For example, Green was 2-9 (0-4 from three) in the Warriors’ Game 4 win in Cleveland, but the team was still +14 when he was on the court. That was the second best +/- for any player Friday night; the first? Andre Iguodala (+15 in 37 minutes). I expect Iggy to not only start tonight, but he will fill in nicely for the vacant Green, and will likely hold the task of guarding LeBron James for most of the game.
I think where the Warriors will be most affected is on the glass. Green is physical and, a lot of the time, plays Center for them. Tristan Thompson has been all over the offensive boards, and I presume he will only cause more trouble with Green out. Where the Cavs will win this game, though, is the three point line. The Warriors hit 17 threes Friday compared to the Cavs’ 6. They stand no shot spotting the Warriors 33 points from the perimeter; but even with that stat, they still only lost the game by 11 and we’re in it until the last couple minutes. Not to mention the Warriors hit 10 more free throws than the Cavs.
Ultimately, I think it’s safe to say that the suspension is going to give the Warriors a chip on their shoulder… and they’re home, where they rarely lose. The Cavs look dead to me, and a lot of it probably has to do with Tyronn Lue’s rotations (or lack thereof). I can’t imagine them winning in Oracle to force a trip back to Cleveland for Game 6 unless they dominate the glass and outshoot the Warriors from three. Good luck with that, I’m riding with the Warriors.
First things first: Draymond was flirting with suspension all postseason long. It’s tough to argue against the NBA’s decision here. But LeBron’s actions shouldn’t get a pass; he clearly attempted to disrespectfully step over Green, presumably leading to the Green punch to LeBron’s mid section.
Photo credit: Larrybrownsports.com
Not only did LeBron clearly instigate the incident, but what bothered him most (amazingly) was what Green said, not did. LeBron was openly bothered by Green calling him a b*tch on the court. I can’t believe the amount of attention this is getting, and I can;t believe I have to even write about it. Two grown men playing in the NBA Finals, and LeBron James, the best player on earth, is upset about being called a b*tch? Come on, man. That is incredibly soft to me, and I’m shocked that a 6’8, 250 lb. player, the self-proclaimed “King James” could throw a hissy fit about it. If that doesn’t tell you the Warriors are in his head, I don’t know what does.
Like always, the spotlight will be on LeBron tonight and how he responds to the incident. Luckily for him, Green won’t be inside the arena. Unfortunately for him, Iguodala will be.
Feature photo credit: CBSsports.com