Golden State Warriors power forward Draymond Green has been suspended for Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
Green earned an automatic one-game suspension after picking up his fourth flagrant foul of the playoffs when he appeared to strike Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James in the groin during Game 4 on Friday.
The incident occurred as Green and James got tangled up with less than three minutes left in the Warriors’ 108-97 win. Green was seen falling down and as James stepped over him, the 26-year-old appeared to clock James in the groin. James immediately confronted Green as the game continued.
The NBA went on to label Green’s actions as a “retaliatory swipe of his hand to the groin”.
“The cumulative points system is designed to deter flagrant fouls in our game,” NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Kiki Vandeweghe said in a statement. “While Draymond Green’s actions in Game 4 do not merit a suspension as a standalone act, the number of flagrant points he has earned triggers a suspension for Game 5.”
James, meanwhile, received a technical foul for physically taunting Green during the altercation.
Speaking about the incident, the Cavaliers talisman said: “I was just trying to get back into the play. I think what had happened [with Green] was intentional. I knew we got into a grapple at the top of the key, but me just trying to get back into the play.”
The Warriors can retain their NBA title in Game 5 on Monday, but they will have to get the job done without Green, who has been averaging 14.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.3 blocks per game in the Finals.