The suspension of Golden State Warriors forward, Draymond Green, had a major impact in Game 5 of the NBA Finals to the dismay of many online NBA sportsbook odds. The defending NBA champions lost to Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night with a 112-97 score line, as Kyrie Irving and LeBron James took advantage to shatter the Warriors defense. Both players evenly scored 41 points to help their team force Game 6 in Cleveland on Thursday, even though Golden States still leads the series 3-2.
On Sunday, the NBA banned Green for Game 5 after officials went through a flagrant foul he committed against LeBron James in Game 4, which Golden States won in Cleveland. With two successive flagrant fouls from Green in the playoffs, the swipe of his hands on James’ groin was enough to rule him out for the game that could help them defend their title.
Green is the only player who have featured in all Warrior’s victories this season, and his teammates missed his tough defensive skills against LeBron James. His communication and coordination has played a key role in smoothly navigating the defense of Golden State. Stephen Curry described Green as an openly vocal player who has the capacity to see the entire court. According to the NBA Most Valued Player, their team tried different rotations to adjust the game in their favor, but with insignificant execution.
The Cavs outmanned Golden States defense and they could not easily switch matchups against their opponent when it came to Irving’s one-two punch. Irving has had a career scoring high of more than 30 points in every game of the playoffs, as James exploited Greens absence to score 26 points in the first 12 minutes. Curry said that his team gave away some lazy turnovers, which they did not improve on as the game approached the end of the fourth quarter.
However, James underplayed the absence of Green with the reason that they had to win the game even in his presence. He said that the Cavaliers went to play the match with a winning attitude, and it did not matter who was not on the floor. They had to extend their season to give them a chance to fight another day and win the title. Furthermore, he played down the idea that his motivation resulted from Klay Thompsons insult about hurt feelings after exchanging words with Green in Game 4. James said that nothing matters when it comes to his motivation except his teammates and coaching staff.
Through the game, Thompson had to chase down Irving in vain, and admitted after the game that Green’s absence leaves a big loophole to fill. He expressed that Draymond is an overall layer who plays a key role in the team, and the team missed him greatly. Even though they still had an opportunity to win the game, Irving outplayed him to make some difficult shots.
Even though the Warriors knew that Green would resume his defensive duties in Game 6, his suspension should have served as a message towards improving Game 5 in his absence. Shaun Livingston argued that they lacked communication, while the Cavs played in good rhythm. The lack of defensive communication clearly left a huge void in Green’s absence, but they could still improve in Game 6, said Livingston.