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Draymond Green says his flagrant foul on LeBron James cost Warriors 2016 title, explains why he’d do it again

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Sports are full of what ifs. That’s what makes every game, every quarter, every moment so exciting, like grabbing a championship trophy a few inches closer and closer. Just the other day, the new Cleveland Cavalier, Donavan Mitchell, was explaining on Howl Pod how the eight second violation he committed in the first game belonging first round out of the 2020 playoffs in a bubble could hasten the demise and looming recovery of the entire Utah Jazz franchise.

“Not to say that we are going forward and winning the championship … but for me it was very important when we lost,” said Mitchell. “If I don’t waste my sweet time driving the ball around the floor and we win this game, what will it be like? What will the next season be like? What will the next season be like? There are always these “if” and “with”. but you can play.

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Yes, especially in the minds of players, every moment counts.

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One got a little more attention in NBA circles and recurred nightmarishly in the minds of Golden State Warriors fans for years, when Draymond Green committed a flagrant foul against LeBron James in Game 4 of the 2016 NBA Finals. Green and James got tangled up half the court and James tried to step over Green to get back into the game while Green’s hand flew up to James’ groin area.

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No foul was called in the game, but the league retroactively issued a flagrant foul to Green along with a technical foul to James. The violation resulted in Green’s fourth flagrant foul of the postseason, prompting an automatic suspension in Game 5.

Golden State ended the best regular season in NBA history and appeared to be on track for a second straight title, but Cleveland were able to win Game 5 in Green’s absence, the first of three consecutive Cavaliers wins. who famously returned from a 3-1 deficit and won the franchise’s first NBA championship.

Green recently reviewed the play on “Check’n In” podcast (h/t NBC Sports Bay Area) and took full responsibility for their actions. He even went so far as to agree with many basketball fans around the world, stating that had he not been disqualified, the Warriors would have won the title that season. Somewhat unexpectedly, however, Green also said that if he had to do it again, he would not change his reaction.

“I take it for a chin. I cost us the championship. It suits me. I can take it for a chin. No problem. I admit my mistakes,” said Green. “Would I do it again? One hundred percent. If someone tries to step over me, I will hit him.”

Green then explained why his regrets stemmed from incidents in previous games and not from a fight with James.

“What I will no longer do is that I will not allow myself to be in a position where someone can make this decision and cost me dearly,” Greene said. – And what do you think? If I get to this point again and you step over me, I will try to hit you again. technicians, where I leave this decision in someone else’s hands.”

Throughout his career, Green has walked a fine line with his intensity, trying to go as far as he can with opponents, officials and sometimes teammates without losing control. Warriors coach Steve Kerr spoke about the importance of that balance and how Green often knows when to back off when he risks losing valuable points to his team or, worse, being sidelined.

Even after six years of reflection, Green clearly still feels that James’s attempt to step over him was disrespectful and deserving of the retribution he inflicted.

It’s easy for Greene to say that he shouldn’t have been in that situation at all, but the only way to ensure he doesn’t end up in those situations is to change the very essence of his being, and we all know that won’t happen. In the end, he won four championships and was probably inducted into the Hall of Fame. So as long as Green is on the court, the Warriors — or whatever team he plays for in the future — will have to put up with random suspensions and hope the positives still outweigh the negatives.

However, if we’re talking what if, the Warriors likely won’t sign Kevin Durant in the summer after the 2016 Finals if they win the title, and they might not win championships in 2017 and 2018 without him. Therefore, some might say that Green’s suspension ultimately benefited the Warriors franchise. That’s why it’s usually a bad idea to play the “what if” game: if we get caught up in butterfly effects, we drive ourselves crazy.


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