Banned from attending Game 5 after the NBA suspended him for a low blow on LeBron James, Draymond Green’s Game 5 experience was painful.
The dynamic Golden State Warriors forward, watching the game on television like the rest of us, was relegated to a suite at the O.co Coliseum. Needless to say, he was upset about the result, as the Cleveland Cavaliers dominated his Warriors, 112-97.
Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated chronicled Green’s experience, writing that the forward was “hurting” as he watched nemesis LeBron James and Kyrie Irving go off for 41 points apiece.
“He yelled at the screen in disappointment as the Warriors’ struggled defensively, allowing Cavs All-Stars James and Kyrie Irving to combine for 82 points.”
In the end, when he realized the game would not be won by his squad, Green turned his focus to what he actually could control.
As Game 5 wound down, and the realization of a Game 6 hit him, Green changed his demeanor, a source said, and became increasingly excited about the challenge ahead,” Spears writes. “Game 6 is in Cleveland on Thursday, June 16, a year to the day that the Warriors won the 2015 NBA championship in the same venue.
“’Let’s go,’ Green yelled, according to a source. ‘I get a chance to play in another game.'”
The Cavs and Warriors split the two previous games in Cleveland. And given the way Irving and James played — inspired performances by both — it seems likely that the upcoming contest will be a dogfight unlike any other we’ve seen thus far in the series.
It was crystal clear during Game 5 that Green’s presence was missed on both ends of the court. What he does as an all-around dynamo cannot be understated as a key to the Warriors’ success. We had previously thought that Andre Iguodala would be able to pick up the slack, but neither he nor anybody else could slow down Cleveland’s two superstars Monday night.
If the Warriors do win Thursday night, and if Green has a big hand in the victory, then it’s safe to say he will be a strong contender to win the Finals MVP trophy.
Needless to say, he’s going to be pumped up for the challenge. The biggest key will be whether or not he can keep his cool. Another technical or flagrant will result in another suspension, which could doom Golden State’s chances at repeating as champs.