The NBA passed on kicking the Golden State Warriors while the defending champs are down.
Forward Draymond Green will not receive a suspension for kicking Oklahoma City's Steven Adams in the crotch during the Thunder's Game 3 rout Sunday night, Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday.
The NBA will not suspend Golden State's Draymond Green for Game 4, league sources tell @TheVertical.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 23, 2016
The NBA released a statement soon after which confirmed the no-suspension report while announcing his flaggrant foul has been upgraded to a Flagrant Foul 2. In addition, Green was fined $25,000.
The Warriors trail the best-of-7 series 2-1 after Sunday's stunning 133-105 loss. With Game 4 in Oklahoma City, they would have been in serious jeopardy of falling into a major hole without their most dynamic frontcourt player, who drilled Adams with just under six minutes left in the second quarter.
The rugged center crumpled to the court and admitted postgame to being in legitimate pain following this kick.
Game officials ruled the infraction a flagrant 1 foul rather than a flagrant 2, which comes with an automatic suspension.
The Warriors, who set an NBA single-season record wth 73 wins during the 2015-16 campaign, spent Sunday's postgame pushing back against the notion that the boot heard 'round the NBA was intentional.
“I was following through on the shot, and my leg went up," Green told reporters. "So no, I don’t think I’ll be suspended since I don’t know how anyone could possibly say I did that on purpose regardless of the way it may look.”
Thunder star guard Russell Westbrook offered a different take.
Russell Westbrook on the kick: "You can't keep kicking somebody in their private areas." https://t.co/9mVBLSo0PQ— NBA TV (@NBATV) May 23, 2016
The incident occurred with 5:57 remaining in the second quarter of the Thunder’s 133-105 win over the Warriors in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals on May 22 at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President of asketball Operations, offered the NBA's perspective Tuesday.
“After a thorough investigation that included review of all available video angles and interviews with the players involved and the officials working the game, we have determined that Green’s foul was unnecessary and excessive and warranted the upgrade and fine,” said VanDeWeghe. “During a game, players – at times – flail their legs in an attempt to draw a foul, but Green’s actions in this case warranted an additional penalty.”
Additional penalty, but no suspension. The debate over whether Green intended to clock the New Zealander in the Kiwi's will no doubt continue. There's no argument over whether the Warriors benefited from the league's decision.