Draymond Green’s Suspension Makes Game 3 A Must-Win — For Sacramento, Not Golden State
The Golden State Warriors are facing the first 0-2 playoff series deficit of this current dynastic run they started about a decade ago.
Now, they'll have to try to avoid going down three games to none without their team catalyst and lightning rod.
The NBA has officially suspended Draymond Green for Game 3 of the Warrior's Western Conference opening-round playoff series against the Sacramento Kings in response to Green's stomping of Domantas Sabonis in Game 3 Monday night.
Former Detroit Pistons star and general manager Joe Dumars, who's now the NBA's executive vice president and head of basketball operations, meted out the punishment Tuesday night.
Sidebar — Does anybody else find it odd that the league hired a member of perhaps the dirtiest team in NBA history, the Bad Boys Pistons, to oversee player conduct and discipline?
Anyway, Green's latest suspension has evoked memories of the 2016 NBA Finals, when the Warriors blew a 3-1 series lead against the Cleveland Cavaliers, thanks in no small part to Green. In Game 4 of that series, Green was called for a flagrant foul when he struck LeBron James near the groin as James attempted to step over him. That foul put Green over the limit for the postseason, triggering an automatic one-game suspension. We all know what happened next. The Cavs beat the Green-less Warriors in Game 5, and won the next two games to complete the improbable comeback and ruin what would have been the greatest season in NBA history for the Warriors, who had won 73 games in the regular season.
In the year since, Green has accepted responsibility for the Warriors' choke-job in the 2016 Finals. He said on JJ Redick's "Old Man and the Three" podcast:
The one thing, when I look back on it, that bothers me is I would’ve been the Finals MVP. And that totally changes the narrative. Good luck leaving me off the NBA 75 if I was Finals MVP. Good luck even having a debate if I’m a Hall of Famer or not if I was Finals MVP... When I look back on that from a selfish standpoint, which I rarely do, I would have been Finals MVP and that changes the course of everything.
Many are prophesying that Green's latest postseason suspension will spell the end of this era for Golden State.
Maybe it will.
Usually, a team facing an 0-2 deficit in a best-of-seven playoff series finds itself in a must-win situation. But I actually think Game 3 represents a must-win for the Kings.
Think about it. If Sacramento loses at Golden State, on a night when Green is banned, that will completely invert the momentum and narrative in this series. All of a sudden, the talk will transition from the end of the Warriors' dynasty to its resurrection.
The Chase Center is a bitch for visiting teams in the postseason. Imagine what that environment would be like in a scenario where the Warriors had just halved Sacramento's series lead down to 2-1, and, on top of that, the great boogeyman of the league over the last decade, who was exiled for a game, returns to the court. You know Green would play out of his mind in that situation and that Golden State would end up evening the series at two games apiece.
And if that were to happen, it's goodnight to the upstart Kings. A young team for a franchise that hadn't been to the playoffs in 17 years now in a best-of-three scenario against a dynastic group of players that's been there and done far more than that.
In the immortal words of Omar Little: "You come at the king, you best not miss."
The Kings had better not miss in Game 3, otherwise Green and Co. will be whistling "The Farmer in the Dell" on their way to Game 4 and the rest of this series.