Can Warriors Win Game 5 Without Draymond Green?
The Golden State Warriors will attempt to win their second straight NBA Finals on Monday night. Unfortunately, they will have to do it without one of their best players.
Per reports, power forward Draymond Green has been issued a flagrant foul for hitting LeBron James in the groin in a game four win in Cleveland.
LeBron James has also been issued a technical foul for physically taunting Green by stepping over him on the court. https://t.co/CGJEu5iEfL
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 12, 2016
The foul put Green over the limit for the year, forcing him to be suspended one game.
The news leaves the Warriors short-handed at the worst possible time, as they’re up 3-1 in the series and just need one more win to win their second consecutive NBA title. That just got a lot more difficult, however, as Green is arguably their best defender and one of their more versatile weapons.
There is a small argument against this ban, as it is very tough to know intent and with James being in Green’s way it’s entirely possible that Green did not intend to hit him in the groin. However, this is at least the third time Green obviously has struck a player in the groin in these playoffs, so the league probably didn’t see a way around this one.
This is a gigantic loss for the Warriors, who had Green for 81 of 82 regular season games and haven’t seen him miss a single game during these playoffs.
Green has also been rather dominant in this series, as he borderline carried Golden State’s offense in games one and two and in three of the four games has been a defensive menace.
The Dubs do have players to turn to, but replacing Green isn’t something that can be done. Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala both can defend at a high level, but the Warriors simply don’t have another player who can both make an impact offensively and also rebound, shot blocks and keep James from dominating around the rim.
Golden State will need an extra boost from both Thompson and Stephen Curry and will need to figure out the correct formula to make up for the loss of Green. That could include a combination of Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli and Marreesse Speights at the five, with Iggy, Harrison Barnes and James McAdoo rotating at the four spot.
Green’s absence dramatically saps Golden State of their most powerful five-man set, popularly referred to as their “death lineup”.
LeBron James Tech
James didn’t come out of the scuffle unscathed, as he was issued a technical for his role, as well. James arguably initiated Green’s groin hit, as he deliberately walked over Green and prevented him from being able to freely get up from the floor.
James, however, will still be able to suit up in game five, which is a must-win game that the Cavs may now have an edge in. James specifically should be thrilled about Green’s suspension, as Green has given him serious problems inside the paint.
James had complained about not getting fouls called on his drives, but Green’s shot-blocking and mirror movement has been largely responsible for James’ struggles in this series.
Game 5 Prediction
The Warriors are locked in as -7 favorites over at Bovada and that’s obviously a very tricky spread now that Green is out. That certainly doesn’t mean the Dubs can’t win. The logic behind a win is obvious: the Dubs are deep enough to survive one key player being out for any one game, they’ve pushed the Cavs to the brink, they’re one win away from the title and they’re at home.
Golden State is not used to being without Green and he’s a massive loss, but they also don’t lose at home and are so close to a second straight title, they can taste it. We’ll dive into whether or not the Warriors win in our full prediction before tomorrow’s game, but the absence of Green is definitely a big deal and it’s more likely than not that Cleveland will either exploit it or at least benefit some from it.
That should have the Cavs keeping this close and beating the spread. That being said, our NBA Finals game 5 prediction is the Dubs coming away with the win and a second consecutive NBA championship.
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