It looks pretty clear on this replay that Draymond Green purposely kicked Steven Adams. Green lost the ball and then appeared clearly frustrated – he was having a bad game to begin with – and his right leg appears to thrust and kick Adams in frustration. Adams has a habit of being on the receiving end of attacks.
Green was given a flagrant foul. OKC seemed to use the dirty kick as a rallying point; the Thunder picked up their defense for the remainder of the 2nd quarter, and the Warriors missed 23 of 25 shots. With just under nine minutes left in the second quarter the score was tied at 40; OKC led by 25 at the half.
The real problem, I think, was what happened after the game. The only talk online – and even among the announcers – was whether or not Green should be suspended for Game 4. The Warriors, who obviously can’t lose their 2nd most important player, a guy who can play multiple positions and led them in triple-doubles this season, went overboard defending him.
Steve Kerr: “Stuff like that happens all the time. 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 I think it should be rescinded.” [Bold mine]
Draymond Green: I’m sure he’d want to have kids one day. I’m not trying to end that on the basketball court. That don’t make sense. I was following through on my shot and my leg went up. So no I don’t think I’ll get suspended. I don’t know how anyone can possibly say I did that on purpose, regardless of the way it may look. Going through on the shot, I got hit that way. And obviously if you get hit this way, this leg goes up. We’ll see what happens. But I don’t even think I should’ve got a flagrant.
It almost felt like a coordinated defense from coach and player. As if it were forced: Hey, we really need Draymond Green in Game 4, let’s swing the discussion to the other end of the spectrum. You have to wonder: Does the NBA watch this replay a million times today, see what everyone with two eyes saw, and slap Green with a one-game suspension? You guys think we’re idiots? Rescind the flagrant? We’re suspending you! A suspension out of spite might be a first.
My pithy thoughts: The kicked looked as if it had some intent, but you can’t suspend Green here. This isn’t some end-of-the-bench scrub sent in to be a hitman. You suspend Green and you can hand the Thunder the series.