NBA: Warriors' Green banned for Game 5 of Finals

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (right) shoots the ball in front of Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James during Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (right) shoots the ball in front of Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James during Game 3 of the NBA Finals.PHOTO: AFP

Oakland, California (AFP) - Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green was issued a one-game suspension by the National Basketball Association on Sunday, sidelining him for the Monday's potential title-clinching fifth game of the NBA Finals.

The defending champion Warriors, who seized a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series with a 108-97 victory over Cleveland on Friday, vowed to win the crown at home for Green.

"It s***s now that he's not going to be on the floor," Warriors star guard Stephen Curry said. "He gives us that fire and that attitude we need. We love that about him and now we have to go out and get a win for him."

Green struck Cavaliers star LeBron James in the groin with a flailing hand with 2:48 remaining in the fourth quarter on Friday after the two had tangled bodies and James stepped over Green as he was on the court.

"I felt like at that point in time it was a little bit outside of basketball," James said of Green's foul.

Green, who was nearly done with Sunday's practice when told of the ban by Warriors coach Steve Kerr, had told NBA TV he felt insulted by James' step-over move.

"He stepped over me," Green said. "There's many routes you can take. Don't step over me like that... I don't care who you are. I'm not going to back down."

Asked if his step-over move rather than going around Green was disrespectful, James replied, "I don't disrespect anybody. It's all in competition. I was just trying to get back into the play."

After NBA officials reviewed the incident, Green's foul was upgraded to a flagrant one, giving him a one-game ban for a fourth accumulated play-off flagrant foul that will be served on Monday.

Kerr said Green was "disappointed" but vowed, "We're going play extremely hard and we're confident we can win. We're going to play a lot of people, give a lot of different looks, compete like crazy and I think we'll give ourselves a great chance to win."

Green, who missed only one game all season, has averaged 15.0 points, 9.7 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.9 blocked shots and 1.6 steals a game for the Warriors in the play-offs.

"He's the heart and soul of their team, but we've still got to play," Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. "His suspension doesn't make us win. We've got to go out and take the game."