History repeats itself, and unfortunately for James Harden, Draymond Green is notorious for kicking his opponents.
During the second overtime of Golden State’s 132-127 loss to Rockets, Green earned a Flagrant 1 foul for “an unnatural leg extension” that caused his foot to collide with Harden’s face. Harden was issued a common foul that led to two free throws for Green.
It’s not clear whether the kick was intentional, but the height of Green’s leg extension is certainly suspicious.
Green, however, was unapologetic in the postgame press conference. Upon being questioned over the kick, the versatile power forward responded apathetically.
“They going to do what they going to do,” Green said, according to Bay Area News Group’s Anthony Slater. “Ain't got nothing to do with me."
After the game, Green posted a cryptic tweet from his account that implied he may feel targeted by the league.
Marked...— Draymond Green (@Money23Green) December 2, 2016
The next day, Green tweeted out a picture of Martin Lawrence and Will Smith, followed by images of the 1980s Pistons.
Harden was not seriously injured on the play, and stayed in the game to hit a game-sealing pair of free throws. A trusty dental accessory braced the impact of the initial blow, according to Harden.
“It was the elbow that got me first,” said Harden according to Jonathan Feigen. “Luckily, I have this Invisalign to protect me.”
Though Harden is clearly taking the incident in stride, the league is seriously cracking down. Joe Borgia, the senior VP of referee operations for the NBA, believes the leg-kick phenomenon must come to an end.
“Now all of a sudden legs are coming out in different directions at weird times, they’re coming higher,” said Borgia. “Well, for the protection of the players, we’re going to stop it.”
Green’s kicking rose to national attention during the 2016 NBA Playoffs. During the Western Conference Finals against Oklahoma City, Green’s kicks twice landed in Steven Adams’s groin. Green was suspended for Game 5 of the NBA Finals for striking LeBron James in the groin in the fourth quarter of Game 4.
With Thursday’s incident as the proof, the league’s mission to curtail Draymond’s infamous kicking is clearly still in progress.