2016 NBA Finals coverage: Game 5
Wow. So much has happened since the moments leading up to Game 3 of the 2016 NBA Finals. In no particular order, the aliens from “Space Jam” stole the Warriors’ skills for a game of intergalactic hoops before returning them shortly before Game 4, LeBron dangled his salty jewels in Draymond Green’s face, Green reacted as any man with a modicum of integrity would, the NBA made a play for a bigger paycheck by suspending Green in the hopes the series gets extended to six games, and some cocky writer posted this premature POS on this very site. Got all of that? Good, now allow me to dive deeper…
Let’s start with that one writer I just mentioned. Okay, full disclosure, that was me (thanks ahead of time, if you decide to continue reading). After the way the Warriors won the first two games and owned the Cavaliers in every conceivable way, I felt confident in illustrating all of their deficiencies and why they didn’t stand a chance at winning the title. However, hours after that article was posted, the Cavs posterized the Warriors with a 30-point win, and in the process reduced my piece to what one of the more unheralded writer’s of today has best described as “wrapping paper for yesterday’s fish bones.” No doubt my timing was off by a few days, but at this point I can confidently, and slightly guardedly, say I still feel strongly about the Warriors bringing home a second title in as many years. Up 3-1 and playing at home in Oracle, who doesn’t?
Game 3 saw the Warriors do their best impersonation of Patrick Ewing and Charles Barkley after the Nerdlucks stole their talents to become the Monstars. This, of course, was a key reason the Looney Toons’ Tune Squad had to steal Michael Jordan out of retirement, such that we now have the movie “Space Jam.” Back in reality, the Warriors were dominated by the Cavs, who appeared ready to put up a fight in these Finals after all. Game 4 came and went, and now it seems as if the days in which the Cavs were “in it” were long gone.
The biggest drama of all came when LeBron stepped-over a horizontal Green after the two got tangled up at the top of the key. For those of you who haven’t seen the clip (ADD LINK), there was clearly another way for him to get back into the play. Green took offense to James bringing his boys within millimeters of his face, and gave LeBron a little forearm shiver as a result. The two exchanged words for the remainder of the play before Green walked away.
Two days later it would be the NBA who had the last word when they retroactively upped Green’s personal foul to flagrant status, which in turn activated a one game suspension for Green who became over-the-limit for technical/flagrant fouls in the playoffs. The NBA’s stated reason for the foul upgrade? It was “retaliatory.” Damn straight it was retaliatory! Green essentially played the role of tea cup to LeBron’s tea bag in front of an audience of millions. One can only ask, what would you do in said situation (assuming you could flex like Draymond, that is)? As for LeBron, he had his personal foul upgraded to a technical.
Green’s foul upgrade and subsequent suspension has many people asking if the NBA made the move in an attempt to stretch the series out beyond five games. Given Green’s history with contact to opponent’s junk and the lack of discipline handed down from the league, I assumed nothing would come of this latest action, especially since it was provoked. I thought wrong, and Green will instead be watching the game next door at the Oakland Coliseum. Now, was this decision made in the hopes that the Warriors would be undermatched without Green’s services and therefore lose Game 5? Eh, I don’t think so. While it’s in the leagues best short-term interest to get that money from one more game, it’s not in their long-term interest to have questions on the integrity of the product of their game. Draymond compiled a rap sheet of flagrant’s in the playoffs and he finally hit the limit. He didn’t do this to himself, and yet he did.
Now the question is – pending a Warriors victory – will, or can, Draymond still capture the Finals MVP? If not, who else is in the running? Or more accurately, who isn’t in the running? Surprisingly enough, the Splash Brothers are on the outside looking in for this conversation. Your guess is as good as min…man, this should be interesting.