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Draymond Green suspended for Game 5 of Warriors-Cavaliers series

Draymond Green, second from left, tangled with LeBron James in Game 4 (Larry W. Smith/EPA)

OAKLAND, Calif. – The Golden State Warriors will have to try to clinch their second straight championship without Draymond Green.

The NBA announced Sunday afternoon that Green had been assessed a level one flagrant foul for hitting LeBron James in the privates late in the fourth quarter of Golden State’s 108-97 victory in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday night. Because Green had already received three flagrant foul points for actions committed earlier in these playoffs, this pushed him to four points in the series and set off an automatic one-game suspension.

Green will lose one game check – roughly $140,000 – and will sit out Game 5 Monday night at Oracle Arena. The Warriors lead the series three games to one, and will win a second straight title with a win.

“The cumulative points system is designed to deter flagrant fouls in our game,” Kiki Vandeweghe, the NBA’s executive vice president of basketball operations, said in a statement announcing the decision.  “While Draymond Green’s actions in Game 4 do not merit a suspension as a stand-alone act, the number of flagrant points he has earned triggers a suspension for Game 5.”

This marked the second time in recent weeks that Green found himself at the center of a controversy surrounding him making contact with the privates of another NBA player. In Game 3 of the Western Conference finals, Green kicked Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams in the same place while attempting to sell a foul after Adams contacted him on a drive into the lane.

During an in-game review, the officials gave Green a flagrant one, allowing him to remain in the game. But after Oklahoma City went on to win in a rout, the next day was spent waiting to see if the NBA would suspend Green for Game 4. The league wound up deciding not to suspend him, but did upgrade that foul to a flagrant level two – moving him to within one more flagrant foul of an automatic suspension.

Many viewed the league’s decision not to suspend Green as a final warning, setting him up to be disciplined if he committed any other infractions during the rest of the playoffs. Sunday’s decision proved that to be the case, and now the Warriors will be without him when they try to finish this series Monday night.

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