Draymond Green to keep being ‘who I am’ despite suspension
SAN FRANCISCO — Draymond Green being forced to watch his team play a playoff game from afar isn’t new to him.
He had to do it in 2016 as the Golden State Warriors played Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers. He watched that game from the Oakland Coliseum just across the parking lot from the Warriors arena.
On Thursday during Game 3 of the Warriors’ first-round series against the Sacramento Kings, he watched from his home in San Francisco.
But despite missing two pivotal games due to suspension, Green doesn’t plan on changing his antics any time soon.
“They created a Draymond rule before, that s— don’t work. I’m still sitting here,” Green said after practice Saturday. He will return to the lineup Sunday when the Warriors host the Kings in Game 4.
“Draymond won’t be moved by the Draymond rule,” Green added. “I’ll continue to play the game how I play the game, operate how I operate, be exactly who I am because that leads to winning. If I was losing, they wouldn’t be creating Draymond rules. As long as they create Draymond rules, that means we’re winning and that’s great … but it doesn’t change Draymond.”
Green’s suspension stemmed from him stomping on the chest of Sacramento’s Domantas Sabonis and his behavior afterward — egging on the crowd and not being apologetic afterward. NBA executive vice president and head of basketball operations Joe Dumars also said that Green’s history as “a repeat offender” factored into the decision to suspend him.
Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers said the league is setting a “very dangerous precedent” with the suspension — allowing teams to bait star players into retaliatory fouls.
“If we’re going to start punishing the retaliators, and not the instigators, then we’ve got a problem in this league,” Rivers said Friday. “I think the league is setting up a very dangerous precedent right now.”
He watched two examples of that earlier Friday. Sixers center Joel Embiid received a flagrant foul 1 for kicking Brooklyn big Nic Claxton near the groin area after Claxton stared down Embiid and stepped over him following an alley-oop dunk.
Game officials said Embiid didn’t receive a flagrant foul 2 and automatic ejection because of his “point of contact,” the same criteria that led to James Harden‘s ejection in the third quarter of that game after he appeared to strike the Nets’ Royce O’Neale in the groin.
When reflecting on this week’s suspension, Green said nothing could compare to missing Game 5 of the 2016 Finals. But what stuck with him after missing Game 3 against the Kings was another instance in which he couldn’t help the Warriors.
“Being in a dog fight and not being able to participate, that’s tough,” Green said. “…We come in here every single day all year and prepare for battle with these guys. Then to know you’re ready to battle with your backs against the wall and to not be there for them, that’s a letdown.”
Green addressed his team before practice Wednesday. He was also at Chase Center a few hours before Game 3 working out and returned to the arena after the game.
“My message to them was that none of it matters. What matters is the task at hand,” Green said. “To know and feel they have your back is huge. It’s a great feeling. My focus was being as involved as I could be.”
Even without Green, the Warriors played their best game of the series, leading to a win and slicing the series deficit to 2-1.
As Stephen Curry wrapped up his on-court interview with TNT after the game, he said, “They say Draymond’s got a history. So do we.”