The National Basketball Association handed Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green a one-game suspension without pay for stepping on the chest of a Sacramento Kings player who had grabbed his calf while he was laying on the field during a game. The incident occurred the day before. The circumstances once again cast doubt on Green’s ability to exercise sound judgement, and they put Golden State’s already dwindling hopes of advancing through the first round of the playoffs versus Sacramento in greater jeopardy.
The Warriors are already down 2-0 in the series, and Green will not be available for Thursday’s game at the Chase Centre in San Francisco. The National Basketball Association said that the reason for Green’s ban was “based in part on Green’s history of unsportsmanlike acts.” According to Land of Basketball, the percentage of teams who go on to win a seven-game series after falling down 2-0 in the series is less than ten percent.
The event, which many people have described as a stomp, took place with just more than seven minutes remaining in Game 2 in Sacramento, with Golden State behind by four points at the time. During the rush for the rebound, Kings centre Domantas Sabonis had tumbled to the ground against Green’s knees. Green had helped him up. Green stomped on Sabonis’ chest as he slid over and then passed him on his way up the court while Sabonis had Green by the ankle and was pulling him backwards. While Sabonis writhed on the floor, Green was penalised for a flagrant-2 penalty and dismissed from the game. However, Sabonis was still allowed to complete the game. A technical foul has been assessed against Sabonis.
After further evaluation, the Kings revealed that Sabonis’ status for Game 3 would be categorised as “questionable” after X-rays revealed that he had sustained a sternum contusion.
Green encouraged the heckling audience by raising his arms, shouting at Kings fans who were heckling him, and putting his hand to his ear while NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was in the stadium. Green’s actions were taking place while Silver was there. After Green was ejected from the game, Golden State was able to go within 1 point of the lead but ultimately fell short, losing 114-106. Green said at a press conference after the game that another player had grabbed his leg when he was playing Game 1.
Not only does Golden State need to win Game 3 in order to avoid falling farther behind in the series, but also because playing at home has proven to be the most successful venue for the team so far this campaign. During the regular season, the Warriors had a record of 33-8 at home, but they won only 11 of the 41 games they played away from Oracle Arena. Golden State will need to win at least one game in Sacramento in order to progress in this series, given they are the lower seed and are ranked No. 6. Green is the greatest defender on the team, and his connection with guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson has been a major factor in the team’s success over the last four seasons, which has resulted in four titles.
However, the energy that made Green such a frightening defender has also been channelled in ways that have been detrimental to the success of his side. Green was automatically banned for Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers because he had accrued too many egregious points for technical and flagrant fouls. This incident is most notable since it led to Green being eliminated from the series. The game that Golden State played without Green and ended up losing was generally seen as the defining moment of the series, which Golden State ended up losing after leading 3-1.
The Golden State Warriors entered this season with the goal of repeating as NBA champions after their victory against the Boston Celtics in June of previous year. However, it has been a difficult year. Before the start of the season, Green hit guard Jordan Poole in the face as they were participating in a private practise together. Golden State made the decision not to punish Green, but he was still required to spend some time away from the team, and players have admitted that the event had an impact on them. Green expressed regret for his behaviour and said that he was making efforts to become more emotionally stable.