Draymond Green suspended for Game 3 after stepping on Sabonis
Draymond Green has been suspended from critical games before — he admits his suspension for Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals helped turn the tide of that series (the Cavaliers came from 3-1 down to win their only title).
Now he faces another suspension that could put the defending champion Warriors on the brink of elimination — the NBA has suspended Green for Game 3 against the Grizzlies Thursday for stepping on the chest of Sacramento Kings center Domantas Sabonis.
That play saw Green ejected from Game 2, which the Warriors lost to drop to 0-2 in the series.
The NBA said, “The suspension was based in part on Green’s history of unsportsmanlike acts.”
Green’s reaction to the play postgame: “My leg got grabbed. Second time in two nights. Referees just watch it.” Green said he had to step somewhere with his balance thrown off from having his ankle grabbed, and it ended up being on Sabonis’ chest. Sabonis said he grabbed Green’s ankle as protection against getting his face kicked.
This is the occasional price the Warriors pay with Green — the on-the-edge style and emotional play of Draymond fuels his greatness. It’s part of what helped the Warriors win four rings — Green is their emotional leader.
That in-your-face style can come with a price. The fact that Green ended up taking a step off Sabonis’ chest like he was on a trampoline did not help his cause, nor did the fact Green played the wrestling heel afterward and egged on the Sacramento crowd. It left Joe Dumars, the Executive Vice President, Head of Basketball Operations for the NBA — the guy who makes the decisions on suspensions — with no choice.
The Warriors have struggled on the road all season and, after two road losses in Memphis, are down 0-2 in a series for the first time in the Stephen Curry era. Golden State has been dramatically better at home this season, but now will have to slow down the best offense in the NBA this season — and a team that has put up 240 points across two games in this series — without their best defender. This is a serious blow to a Warriors team facing a relentless opponent in Sacramento.