When the NBA announced the one-game suspension of Draymond Green on Sunday, many basketball fans figured the suspension would negatively affect the Golden State Warriors because of the loss of their emotional leader. On Monday, the Cleveland Cavaliers easily defeated the Warriors without Green in the lineup, preventing the Warriors from winning their second consecutive NBA title. With Green back in the lineup for Game 6 on Thursday, Golden State’s basketball betting lines will be improved, but since the game is being played in Cleveland, they will be the underdogs.
A lot of Golden State fans were upset about the suspension of Green because they felt LeBron James instigated things and got off with a slap on the wrist. Video replay of the incident shows James shoving Green to the ground then stepping over him, which led to Green flailing his arms and hitting James in the groin. After reviewing the incident, the NBA decided to upgrade Green’s foul to a flagrant 1, forcing him to sit out a game because he had accumulated four flagrant fouls in the playoffs.
After Game 5, James downplayed Green’s absence impacting the result of the contest. James credited his team’s mindset going into the game as the key to their victory. James also said he wasn’t motivated by Klay Thompson’s remark about James getting his feelings hurt by Draymond Green, which many believe led to the confrontation.
League MVP Stephen Curry said the Warriors missed having Green on the floor, and it showed in the way they played defense on Monday night. Curry said Green was the communicator on defense that made the team’s defense flow, and not having him on the court made a difference.
James and Irving were able to have big nights because Green wasn’t on the floor to hound them. Klay Thompson, who is a good defender, had trouble slowing Irving down all night. If Green was on the floor, he would have helped Thompson out and prevent Irving from driving to the basket as easily as Irving did on Monday.
Even without Green in the lineup, the Warriors still had a chance to win the game, keeping it close for most of the first three quarters, but in the end, the combination of James and Irving, who made almost every shot he took, was just too much for the defending champions.
With Green back in the lineup on Thursday, the Warriors will be much better defensively, but they will have their work cut out for them at the Quicken Loans Arena, in what will be the Cavaliers last home game of the season regardless of what happens that night.
The Warriors will come out with a lot of intensity, but if they can’t slow down Irving, who has been shooting the ball well lately and James, who always steps up in big games, they will have a difficult time getting the win, and will have to play a decisive Game 7.