Draymond Green knows all about getting suspended in the playoffs after he was on the short end of arguably one of the most infamous suspensions in an NBA Finals.
Green has a number of reasons to be upset over being ejected for a Flagrant 2 foul in the second quarter of the Warriors’ 117-116 win over the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 of the second round on Sunday. Because what’s lingering in the background is the possibility of a suspension if he picks up more flagrant fouls during the playoffs.
In Game 4 of the 2016 NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Green was given a flagrant for what the NBA called “a retaliatory swipe of his hand to the groin” of LeBron James. The Warriors won that game to take a 3-1 lead in the series, but Green was suspended for Game 5 because he had accumulated four flagrant points over the course of the playoffs.
Then, the Warriors lost three straight in a historic collapse that left a 73-win regular season team without a championship. If Green hadn’t been suspended for Game 5 at Oracle Arena, the Warriors might very well have closed out the Cavaliers and altered the course of NBA history – as Kevin Durant likely wouldn’t have signed with the Warriors the following offseason.
Which brings Green to the present day. Green recorded an “emergency” podcast of the Draymond Green Show from his hotel room in Memphis after the game, where he attempted to talk through why the referees ejected him for a foul on Brandon Clarke that many in the NBA world thought shouldn’t have warranted a Flagrant 2.
But Green also brought up the fact that he now has two flagrant foul points because it was a Flagrant 2 foul (Flagrant 1 fouls result in one flagrant foul point). Two more points result in an automatic one-game suspension, and a suspension will follow for each subsequent point.
“My biggest worry moving forward is that gives me two flagrant foul points, and as we know I’ve been ejected for accumulation of flagrant foul points,” Green said. “So I’m hoping that the right thing will happen, and that it will at least get rescinded to a flagrant one.”
At the end of the podcast, Green updated his statement to: “I’m looking forward to it getting rescinded.”
Even rescinding the foul to a Flagrant 1 would be huge for Green, because he would have to accrue three more Flagrant 1 fouls before a suspension or he could even pick up another Flagrant 2 and be fine. But now, he has to get through the rest of the playoffs without picking up another Flagrant 2, and he has less leeway on committing fouls in general in case the referees call it a flagrant.
The Warriors may have won Game 1, but they have a long road ahead to a potential championship. They need Green on the court to get them there, and having experienced the chaos of the 2016 postseason, Green definitely knows that too.