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Leave it to the NBA to come with a make-up call three-and-a-half weeks later.
That's what Draymond Green's one-game suspension was last night - the make-up call for not suspending Green when he kicked Oklahoma City center Steven Adams in the balls during the Western Conference Finals way back when.
Otherwise, it was an extraordinarily ridiculous disciplinary action (more on that later) handed down against the Warriors forward. And that is saying something, given the NBA's penchant for getting this sort of thing wrong.
In the aftermath of all that, and of the Cavaliers' 112-97 victory over the Warriors (they now trail three games to two with a Game 6 coming up Wednesday night), it is up to fans to decide how much they care that the NBA believes two such wrongs make a right. It also gives all the teams in the league a nice little revenue boost by extending the Finals.
Isn't that nice for them?
And I suppose it was up to the league led by absent commissioner Adam Silver (they send out the flunkies to explain these sorts of dubious disciplinary decisions) to decide whether it would make a fool of itself twice, doubling down on the original bad call.
Sure enough, Green was suspended despite James initiating the incident in question in Game 5 with a scrubby little move that should never happen.
To start, the Cavaliers' forward got tangled up with Green and then was able to push him toward the floor. Green flopped a bit, hitting the deck when he probably could have simply moved on.
That was when James decided a little disrespect was in order, stepping over Green as the play continued. Green didn't take kindly to that, getting up and sending a few choice words in James' direction as he made incidental contact with James', well, undercarriage.
James, who revealed after the game that he was offended by something Green said (some reports said he was especially upset that Green called him a bitch, so be careful the next time you trash talk LeBron) then started advancing menacingly, kind of.
As is so often the case, teammates got in the way before any sort of real fisticuffs could break out. Some might have even suspected that James was pretending to be ticked off, knowing his teammates wouldn't allow him to do something completely stupid.
The bottom line was, James didn't react the way he did because he was fouled. He wasn't. Nevertheless during down time between Games 5 and 6, the league not only dreamed up an after-the-fact call, it deemed that Green had fouled James in flagrant fashion, necessitating the suspension.
And so Game 5 was played without the Warriors' most versatile defensive player (well, maybe it is a tie between Green and Andre Iguodala, who is from Illinois by the way, in case you missed it the last seven times I mentioned it), who is also their best rebounder and passer. And LeBron and Kyrie Irving both scored 41 points to lead a Cavalier rout.
The make-up call has a long, necessary history in the NBA. Refs tacitly acknowledge they botched a previous call by quickly making a call that goes the other way to even things out. In a perfect world those calls wouldn't be necessary but we don't . . . I don't think you need me to finish that thought.
But a make-up call with more than three weeks between it and the previously botched whistle - come on!
Silver has already done some great things in his short term at the helm of the NBA. His successful banishment of former Clippers owner Donald Sterling has gone down in history as one of the best sports commissioner actions ever.
In the end, this probably works out fine for the NBA. But if the Cavaliers go home and force a Game 7, then it gets a bit dicey. The NBA was tremendously lucky the Thunder beat the Warriors in the game when Green should have been suspended. If the Cavaliers win the whole thing in part because Green was suspended for Game 5, that also makes history. But Mr. Silver definitely won't enjoy the telling of it.
Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.
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Posted on Jun 9, 2021