Golden StateWarriors

Draymond's low blow takes center stage in ugly Game 3 loss


OKLAHOMA CITY – Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals Sunday night against the Thunder showcased Draymond Green’s worst performance of the season. He also became the villain in the eyes of the Oklahoma City crowd.

Furthermore, Green was at the center of sharp disagreement between the teams after being assessed for a Flagrant 1 foul in the second quarter.

With 5:57 left in the second quarter, Green went up for a shot and during his attempt, lifted his right leg into the crotch of Thunder center Steven Adams. Adams, whistled for a foul on the play, dropped to the floor in pain while Green prepared to shoot two free throws.

“My leg went up,” Green said afterward. “I know my core is not strong enough to stop my leg halfway from where it was going. Honestly, I didn’t know I hit him.”

Meanwhile, as officials reviewed Green’s actions, the video screens at Chesapeake Energy Arena ran at least four replays. The vociferous sellout crowd, enraged a little more with each replay, chanted, “Kick him out! Kick him out!”

It was the second time in two games that Green inflicted a low blow on Adams, as it also happened in Game 2 last Wednesday at Oracle Arena.

As Green argued the kick was inadvertent, officials concluded he deserved a Flagrant 1, giving Adams two free throws after those of Green while also allowing the Thunder to retain possession.

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“I would think they would rescind it,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of the Flagrant 1, which will be reviewed by the NBA office on Monday.

“I haven’t seen it but, honestly, I think it was intentional,” Thunder guard Russell Westbrook said.

“I was kind of shocked when they went to review, because I didn’t know what happened,” Stephen Curry said. “But there was no intent. Watching the replay, I think that’s clear.”

What was clear was that Green’s leg went upward as he was getting off his shot, and his shin appeared to land squarely on Adams’ crotch.

“I followed through on a shot,” Green said. “I’m not trying to kick somebody in the midsection. I’m sure he wants to have kids someday. I’m not trying to end that on the basketball court. That don’t make sense.”

Green conceded, however, that upon seeing the replay he could understand how it might appear intentional.

“I probably wouldn’t believe it, from the way it looked,” he said.

The league office will make a decision Monday and it’s conceivable they could go so far as to suspend Green, which would be a major blow to the Warriors chances to square the series in Game 4 on Tuesday.

Joe Borgia, senior vice president of Replay and Referee Operations, reached no firm conclusion Sunday night.

“The officials caught it, but they weren’t exactly sure how severe it was,” Borgia said in an interview with NBA TV. “So they elected to come over to replay. They came to replay, they looked at all the different angles and at the end of the replay, the officials on the court decided that this was unnecessary contact and ruled it a Flagrant Foul 1.”

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The league, which reviews all flagrant fouls, will study the video from every possible angle before rendering a decision.

Westbrook didn’t bother to wait for the league’s response.

“That’s two times in the last two games,” he said. “I don’t think you can keep kicking somebody in their private areas.”

Kerr reiterated his stance.

“Stuff like that happens all the time,” he said. “Westbrook kicks out his feet on every three and there is contact . . . that’s just part of the game. So I don’t understand how that can be deemed a Flagrant 1. I think it should be rescinded.”

Though that incident will be the most discussed in the aftermath of the game, it was not worst of it for Green. His stat line was atrocious: six points (1-of-8 shooting), four rebounds, three assists and four turnovers. He was minus-43 over 32 minutes.

On a night with a lot of lows, the lowest point, however, was the low blow.

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