The NBA has decided not to suspend Draymond Green for his kick to Steven Adams' groin Sunday night, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. Green will be allowed to suit up for Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals Tuesday night in Oklahoma City, which is a huge break for the Warriors in their hopes of overcoming a 2-1 series deficit.
The NBA did upgrade the punishment from a Flagrant 1 foul to a Flagrant 2 foul and fined Green, according to USA Today's Sam Amick, but that does not come with an automatic suspension. However, Green will be suspended if he commits another flagrant foul this postseason. NBA rules do not allow players to exceed three flagrant foul "points" (one for a Flagrant 1, two for a Flagrant 2). With the upgrade, Green now has exactly three flagrant foul "points" this postseason, so a suspension will arrive with his next infraction but he has escaped further punishment for now. The fine is for $25,000, according to Amick.
This decision comes just after the league handed Cavaliers guard Dahntay Jones a one-game suspension for punching Bismack Biyombo between the legs Saturday night in Toronto. Evidently, that infraction merited a suspension, while Green's didn't.
The play with Green and Adams occurred midway through the second quarter of the Warriors' 133-105 road loss to the Thunder. Green was fouled by Adams on a drive to the basket and kicked Adams between the legs after attempting a shot.
Green was assessed a Flagrant 1 penalty and allowed to stay in the game, even though this was the second time he had hit Adams in the groin this series. Adams was kneed in the groin by Green in Game 2, also during a Green drive. Adams -- who is also dealing with a right thumb injury and sore back, among other injuries -- was not happy about that play afterward.
Steven Adams on Draymond Green being more pesky and annoying this series: "I think he's peaked with annoyingness."— Royce Young (@royceyoung) May 20, 2016
Adams was once again annoyed at Green following Game 3.
"I mean, it happened before, mate," he said, via ESPN. "He's pretty accurate, that guy."
Russell Westbrook offered a similar appraisal.
"Honestly, I think it's intentional," he said. "That's two times in the last two games. I don't think you can keep [hitting] somebody in their private areas."
Draymond on the kick: "I don't see any possible way that someone could think that was intentional."— Tim Cato (@tim_cato) May 23, 2016
His head coach, Steve Kerr, lobbied for his All Star forward, too.
"Stuff like that happens all the time," Kerr said. "There's contact, people's arms, legs flailing. If they think it's on purpose, play the game, you know. This stuff happens all the time. [Russell] Westbrook kicks his feet out on every 3, and there is contact. I mean, that's just part of the game. So I don't understand how that can be deemed a flagrant 1. I think it should be rescinded."
That interpretation is ultimately what swayed the NBA into allowing Green to play in Game 4. On Monday, Green reiterated that he was flailing his leg in an attempt to draw a foul.
Green compared his motion to Russell Westbrook kicking out his legs on three-pointers. Westbrook's response: "I don't know how to flop."
That logic wasn't enough for the NBA. Green will play in Game 4, which gives the Warriors renewed hope that they can erase a 2-1 series deficit. Here is the league's official statement:
Official NBA press release RE: Draymond decision pic.twitter.com/I9ZkO132qt— Sean Highkin (@highkin) May 23, 2016