Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green was fined but not suspended by the NBA as a result of kicking Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams in the groin during Sunday's Game 3 of the Western Conference finals.
The foul was upgraded from a Flagrant Foul 1 to a Flagrant Foul 2, and Green was fined $25,000. Kiki VanDeWeghe, the NBA's Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations, made the announcement Monday afternoon.
The ruling is good news for the Warriors, who feared Green might be suspended for Tuesday's Game 4 of the series, which Oklahoma City leads 2-1.
The incident occurred with 5:57 remaining in the second quarter of the Thunder's 133-105 win over the Warriors in Game 3 in Oklahoma City. Green was driving to the basket against Adams when Green stopped and lifted his leg, causing him to kick Adams in the groin.
"After a thorough investigation that included review of all available video angles and interviews with the players involved and the officials working the game, we have determined that Green's foul was unnecessary and excessive and warranted the upgrade and fine," said VanDeWeghe. "During a game, players -- at times -- flail their legs in an attempt to draw a foul, but Green's actions in this case warranted an additional penalty."
During Monday morning's shootaround, before the ruling was announced, Green said based on his in-game conversation with referee Scott Foster he doesn't expect to be suspended.
"I said, 'Scott, how am I getting a Flagrant because my leg went in the air trying follow-through on a shot, to sell the call,'" Green recalled Monday. "He said, 'Draymond, I'm not saying intentional. Honestly, I don't think it was intentional at all. But you caught him in the groin area so I have to give you a Flagrant.' I didn't argue it or nothing. I said OK, that's understandable.
"I followed through on a shot. I'm not trying to kick somebody in the men's section. I'm sure he wants to have kids one day. I'm not trying to end that on the basketball court. That don't make sense. I brought the ball over the top this way (makes motion), he fouled me, and I brought my leg up. I mean, I know my core's not strong enough to stop my leg halfway from wherever it was going."
The Warriors defended Green's knee to Adams' midsection in Game 2 and again said Sunday's actions were unintentional.
"I thought it was inadvertent," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "There was contact on the play. I was shocked they even looked at it. Scott Foster told me they were looking at it to either determine if it was Flagrant 1 or Flagrant 2, I was in shock. There is inadvertent contact all the time on plays. So that really surprised. I would think they would rescind it. This stuff happens all the time."
League MVP Steph Curry agreed with his coach.
"There was no intent," Curry said. "Watching the replay, I think that's clear."
The Thunder are not so sure.
"The way I look it," Thunder guard Russell Westbrook said, "it looks intentional to me. That's two times in the last two games."
In the Eastern Conference finals, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Dahntay Jones was suspended one game for hitting Toronto Raptors center Bismack Biyombo in the groin. The NBA announced the suspension Sunday.
"I didn't see the Dahntay Jones incident, but from what I heard, he punched him. If I come punch you in your head, I probably did that on purpose because I'm going to intentionally use my arm," Green said Monday. "I don't think you could ever really compare a leg to an arm. There's multiple plays where -- I did it later in the game, where I got fouled and my right leg went up. I always ... Russell said I did it on purpose, but he's a part of the superstar group that started all this acting in the NBA, I think. So I sold the call."
Green went 1-for-9 for six points, with four rebounds and three assists along with four turnovers Sunday. Green was named to the All-Star team this season and averaged 14.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists during the regular season. In 13 playoff games he is averaging 16.6 points, 9.3 rebounds and 6.5 assists.