(Reuters) – Draymond Green helped motivate Golden State to a record-breaking 73-game winning season but the struggling Warriors will be hoping their emotional forward can avoid suspension after he picked up a flagrant foul on Sunday.
Green kicked Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams in the groin while attempting a shot in the second quarter of the 133-105 Western Conference finals Game Three loss as the defending NBA champions fell 2-1 behind to the Thunder in the best-of-seven series.
The painful kick left Adams doubled over on the floor and earned the flagrant call after officials looked at the instant replay. The NBA will now be expected to examine the play and determine whether it merits a ban for the All-Star Green.
The timing of the incident is ominous for the Warriors, coming on the same day the league suspended Cleveland guard Dahntay Jones for one game after he struck a Toronto player in their Eastern Conference finals showdown on Saturday.
“I don’t think I’ll get suspended,” Green told reporters following the disastrous blowout loss in Oklahoma City.
“I followed through on the shot and my leg went up. I’m not trying to kick someone in the mid-section. I’m sure he wants to have kids one day I’m not trying to end that on the basketball court. I’m not sure how anyone can say I did that on purpose.”
Green and Adams have engaged in a testy sequence of exchanges during this series and the Golden State forward also kneed the New Zealander in the groin during Game Two, prompting the Thunder center to say his opponent had “peaked with annoyingness” following the contest.
“I mean, it happened before. He’s pretty accurate, that guy,” Adams added.
Green’s combustible nature leaves him always close to boiling point and the 26-year-old is certainly playing on the edge this post-season.
He has four technical fouls in the playoffs, three shy of earning a suspension, along with two flagrant fouls. Two more flagrant-one calls against him, or a single flagrant-two ejection would also force him to sit out one game.
His reputation could factor into the NBA’s review of his most recent misdemeanour.
“I would hope not,” Warriors team mate Stephen Curry said when asked whether he felt Green would be sanctioned. “There was no intent in watching the replay. That’s clear.”
Green’s performance with the ball against the Thunder is a more pressing concern for the Warriors, however. He finished 1-for-9 with just six points on Sunday as Golden State were completely outplayed.
The previous time Green had set foot on the Oklahoma City court, back in February, he missed all eight of his field goal attempts and became so frustrated that he had a shouting match with coach Steve Kerr at halftime.
Kerr defended him then and repeated the mantra on Sunday.
“Honestly, stuff like that happens all the time,” Kerr said. “There’s inadvertent contact on all plays. It’s just part of the game.”