Aside from a serious injury to a star, the list of items that make the Warriors nervous down the stretch is relatively short and probably topped by the threat of Draymond Green being suspended for a game that could decide the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.
Chill. It’s not going to happen, no matter your source of information.
When Green was hit with a technical foul Wednesday in Memphis, some outlets reported it as his 15th of the season, leaving him one away from triggering a one-game suspension.
That was, however, Green’s 14th technical of the season. It’s the 16th that results in automatic suspension. Green was informed that this was, in fact, No. 14.
“How many games we got left? Eight?” Green asked reporters after a 118-103 win over the Grizzlies. “We got eight games left?
“I got one to play with.”
Green claimed not to know how many technical fouls he had been assessed. Maybe he didn’t. More likely, given his general awareness of team basketball, he knew.
He certainly knows now.
Which is why Green won’t allow himself to miss a game that matters. He’s been there and the memories still haunt him. Draymond was suspended for Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals and that opened the door for the Warriors to make some unwanted history.
With Green next door watching an A’s baseball game from a suite at the Coliseum, the Cavaliers won Game 5 at Oracle Arena, and then Game 6 in Cleveland and, finally, Game 7 back at Oracle. The Warriors became the first team to blow a 3-1 series lead in The Finals.
Green felt the brunt of that. There is little question that his presence, along with his teammates, would have been enough to win the series, maybe in five games.
With the Warriors locked in a fierce battle with the Nuggets for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, there are stakes to upcoming games -- particularly the game against Denver at Oracle on April 2.
Green will not allow a suspension of himself to be a reason why the Warriors lose out on something they want.
“Last year, he went to 15 and stopped,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He knows. He knows what he’s doing.”
That’s exactly what unfolded last season, even though the Warriors conceded the No. 1 seed to Houston with nearly a month remaining in the regular season. Green was assessed with his 15th technical last season on Feb. 24. It was rescinded two days later.
Two technical fouls away from suspension, Green picked up another on March 9 against the Trail Blazers in Portland. That was No. 15.
Green played the final 16 games without being assessed with a technical foul.
He wouldn’t let it happen then, and he’s not going to let it happen now.