The Sacramento Kings held serve in impressive fashion this week, opening a first round series against the Golden State Warriors with back-to-back home wins. The Game 2 victory arrived on Monday evening and, in addition to Sacramento’s stellar play, a great deal of chatter emerged surrounding Draymond Green and Domantas Sabonis. Green was ejected from Game 2 after stomping on Sabonis’ chest, and Sabonis earned a technical foul for grabbing Green’s ankle at the start of the incident. Following the game, both Green and Sabonis underwent X-rays, heightening the drama, but some NBA insiders notably believed that Green might avoid a suspension in favor of a fine.
However, those reports ended up being premature, as the NBA announced on Tuesday evening that Green will be suspended for one game without pay for “stepping on the chest” of Sabonis. That suspension will be served in Game 3 on Thursday and, in an interesting twist, the NBA acknowledged that “the suspension was based in part on Green’s history of unsportsmanlike acts.”
As that language would suggest, this is far from Green’s first rodeo. He was most prominently suspended for a game during the 2016 NBA Finals, with many believing that suspension cost the Warriors a championship. Green is one of the league’s best defenders and his on-court impact is measurable, but he often tip-toes the line when it comes to behavior, and this particular action will have a real impact on Game 3.
The Warriors now face a virtual must-win situation in San Francisco, and they do so without a defensive leader and offensive fulcrum as a passer. Golden State has been a different team, in a good way, at home this season, but the Kings are playing at a high level, and this is ill-timed for both player and team to say the least.