The top 3 Draymond Green playoff moments that had fans and analysts buzzing with controversy

I want to take this opportunity to make a public service announcement. Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green is a lighting rod for controversy. This is probably as much of a breaking news story as someone confirming the sky is blue, or there’s trees in a forest.

In all seriousness, Green is no stranger to getting involved in conflicts and issues in the most adverse times of playoff games. If we’re going to be fair about the overall picture, this is the player Green has been during the course of his professional career.

It’s no secret Draymond Green is an intense competitor who’s always going to play close to the line of what’s allowed within the rules and what’s not, and sometimes, stepping over that line is what occurs.

When it comes to managing how hot Green is capable of running, it’s always a dilemma for Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, and perhaps the team leader, guard Steph Curry. It’s understood Green wouldn’t be the player he is without the edge he brings, but for Kerr and Curry, the task to strike that delicate balance and talk to Green about playing smarter is never ending.

The main thing is to have Draymond Green keep the chip on the shoulder, but not to the point he could get thrown out of a game, or get suspended for the next contest. Both have happened in the past, and one of the occasions happened Monday night during Golden State’s loss to the Sacramento Kings in Game 2 of their Western Conference first round playoff series.

More on the specifics of that particular incident in a moment, but with that in mind, it’s time to dive into the three most controversial NBA playoff moments Green has been involved in during his career. Let’s get to it.

1. Swinging at LeBron James during the 2016 NBA Finals

Out of all of the incidents involving Green, this is the most significant, both because of the when it happened and who it involves. Let’s go back to Game 4 of the 2016 NBA Finals, with the Warriors winning the game and on their way to a commanding 3-1 series lead. In the fourth quarter, keeping it real went wrong.

Green got tangled up with Cavaliers forward LeBron James (now with the Los Angeles Lakers), and was knocked down in the exchange. After James stepped over him, Green got up and responded by throwing a punch towards James’ groin. The actions resulted in a suspension for Game 5 of the series for Green.

Looking at the confrontation on the surface, there probably wouldn’t have been any punishments being laid down, but because of previous incidents during the Warriors’ playoff run (more on that coming up), the LeBron punch was looked at as a third strike for Green by the league office. Of course, there was uproar about the NBA’s decision to suspend the volatile forward out of Michigan State, but if if prior situations didn’t happen, that wouldn’t have been in the equation.

In other words, Green has nobody else to blame but himself.

2. Multiple strikes to Steven Adams

About those previous incidents during the Golden State’s run in 2016, let’s go to the Western Conference Finals, where the Warriors faced the Oklahoma City Thunder. In consecutive games, Green kicked center Steven Adams (now with the Memphis Grizzlies) in the groin. It’s debatable whether or not those kicks were by accident, but the overreaching point is these occurrences set the stage for the result from the incident with James.

It’s understood players will flail their legs out in an attempt to draw a foul, but the way Green’s leg went out on the strikes to Adams didn’t look like a natural shooting motion. As a result of these kicks, Green was fined $25,000 by the league, but not suspended. If the James punch was the third strike, and the Adams kicks were the first two.

3. Stepping on Domantas Sabonis

That brings us to the latest controversial moment with Green, where he stepped on Kings forward/center Domantis Sabonis in the fourth quarter of the playoff game. For the stomp, Green was ejected from the contest, but is unlikely to face any further punishment from the league.

To be fair, Sabonis did grab and hold Green’s leg before the step occurred, but the latter has to be smarter about getting caught up in those situations. After all, it’s the playoffs, and emotions are going to reach fever pitch. It’s the players who can keep those emotions controlled who normally win.

With Green, it’s always a fine line, and it’s apparent the Warriors understand there’s going to be a little bad that comes with the bundles of good. Going forward, Golden State and their fans hope Green can keep his poise, or we could be adding to the list of controversial moments.

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