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SportsMonday: A Kick In The Balls

Does it even matter if Draymond Green kicked Steven Adams in the balls on purpose?

It does not.

After review, the refs made the correct foul call - a flagrant 1, during the second quarter of Oklahoma City's beatdown of the Golden State Warriors on Sunday night that gave the Thunder a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference finals. Now the right call will be for the NBA to suspend Green for the Warriors' next playoff game Tuesday night.

And oh by the way, the kick was too extreme to be anything other than intentional, i.e., there is no way Green's leg came up that far just because he was kicking out his feet in the aftermath of being fouled on a jump shot - an action that many shooters engage in. But that is not the primary concern.

And that is because the Intent in this situation is unknowable. All you have is the result, which was Green's leg making significant contact with Adams' groin. You also have Green's overall behavior in the series, which has been just short of unhinged - if he hasn't been crashing into Adams on other drives, he has been leaning in behind him to talk trash.

All that stuff makes it awfully difficult to give Green the benefit of the doubt. But even if you could, you still have a play that was clearly a flagrant cheap shot. Suspend that man!

Be aware that I am not objective when it comes to these games. When Oklahoma City scored a massive upset in the conference semifinals, knocking off a San Antonio Spurs team that everyone had picked to win, the Thunder earned me as a fan. That fandom will run out after the current series, but I am in with Oklahoma City until then.

I can't stand the Spurs. Gregg Popovich is one of the most overrated coaches in the history of sports. Yes they've won a bunch of championships, but no, Popovich is not the gold standard when it comes to coaching, at least not yet. Let's see what he can do when Tim Duncan retires. Although Popovich might just decide to retire with Duncan so there may never be the satisfaction of watching the coach's team take a step back without the man in the middle.

The main source of my antipathy for the Spurs is that everyone has long since forgotten that Popovich scammed his way into the coaching job, screwing the guy, Bob Hill, who had the job before him. And he sold out competitive integrity to totally tank a season to win a lottery to get Duncan in the first place, then named himself coach and teamed up Duncan with David Robinson to form the core of the Spurs' first few championships.

So I reveled in the Thunder knocking off the Spurs. And if they can go on to upset the Warriors as well it will be such an impressive upset that I can't help but root for that outcome.

Then it ends. Oklahoma City after all, is the team that used to be the Seattle SuperSonics. And when Seattle wouldn't give David Stern's NBA a massive public subsidy for a new stadium (and thereby reduce funding for all those other pesky things that government funds, like education and services for the downtrodden), Stern engineered the team's departure.

Barring an even bigger upset than Thunder over Spurs, Cleveland will win the East and make the NBA finals. And if the Cavaliers can knock off either the Warriors or the Thunder, they will break Cleveland's over 50-year streak of losing. The last Cleveland team to win a championship was the 1964 Browns.

If Cleveland can win, on top of Leicester City winning its first Premiere League championship in Great Britain earlier this year after more than 130 years of losing (local angle alert!), you know who's going to win next, don't you?


Jim Coffman welcomes your comments.

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Posted on Oct 11, 2021