Facing each other in the NBA Finals for a second straight year, the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers have established somewhat of a rivalry. That has led to a few on-court scuffles, resulting in a war of words before Game 5.
A confrontation between LeBron James and Draymond Green in Game 4 resulted in the latter’s suspension for Monday’s Game 5. A double foul was called and the two players had to be separated with less than three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. James later acknowledged that he lost his cool because Green “said something I don’t agree with.”
James and Green got tangled up near the three-point line, and James stepped over Green, who was lying on the ground. That prompted a shot to James’ groin by Green, which will force him to potentially miss the series clincher.
There’s been much debate surrounding whether or not Green should have been suspended. The Warriors have taken the suspension as an opportunity to pile on James, who could be set to lose in the finals for a fifth time in his career.
"Guys talk trash in this league all the time. I'm just kind of shocked some guys take it so personal," Klay Thompson said. "I don't know how [James] feels. But obviously people have feelings, and people's feelings get hurt even if they're called a bad word. I guess his feelings just got hurt. I mean, we've all been called plenty of bad words on the basketball court before. Some guys just react to it differently."
High Road. invisible bridge used to step over said person when open floor is available left to right.
— Ayesha Curry (@ayeshacurry) June 12, 2016
Golden State backup center Marreese Speights called out James, as well, indicating that the four-time MVP sought to get Green suspended.
"A guy does something like that, you kind of lose respect for him ... I had a lot of respect for LeBron over his career since he was in high school. But, do things like that to get a guy suspended? That kind of disrespectful."
James didn’t take too kindly to Thompson’s comments.
"My goodness. I'm not going to comment on what Klay said, because I know where it can go from this sit-in," James said. "It's so hard to take the high road. I've been doing it for 13 years. It's so hard to continue to do it, and I'm going to do it again."
Green wasn’t simply suspended for his actions in Game 4. He was assessed a flagrant foul 1 for his actions against James, marking his fourth flagrant foul point of the playoffs. There was plenty of uproar when he wasn’t suspended for kicking Steven Adams in the groin in the Western Conference, when he was instead assessed a flagrant foul 2 and allowed to play the next game.
James’ frustration seemed to boil over when he walked over Green on Friday night. The Cavaliers were trailing by 10 points after having taken a two-point lead earlier in the fourth quarter.
Golden State looks to close out the series on Monday night. No team has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit to win the finals.