Would The Warriors Have Won Game 5 Of The NBA Finals With Draymond Green In The Lineup?
Draymond Green didn’t play in Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals after he was assessed a flagrant-1 foul for getting into it with LeBron James during Game 4. Green appeared to throw his hand into LeBron’s groin after LeBron stepped over him on a play towards the end of the game, so the NBA suspended Green for Game 5 of the series. Rather than be with his teammates on Monday night, Green was forced to watch the game on TV from a suite at the A’s stadium across the parking lot from Oracle Arena, and the thought was that, if the Warriors were able to beat the Cavaliers in Game 5, Green would be able to run across the parking lot to celebrate with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and the rest of the guys on the team.
That didn’t happen. Due to Green’s absence, LeBron and Kyrie Irving went off against Golden State. They each scored 41 points in Game 4 and become the first teammates in NBA history to record 40-point performances in the same NBA Finals game. They led the Cavaliers to an easy 112-97 win.
On Wednesday, Green said that he doesn’t think it would have went that way if he had played. According to him, the Warriors would have clinched a victory in the game—and the series—if he was in the lineup.
“I have a strong belief that if I play in Game 5, we win,” he said. “But I didn’t because I put myself in a situation where I wasn’t able to play.”
The truth is there’s no way of knowing how the Warriors would have done with him in the lineup. Maybe they would have won the game, or at the very least, maybe they would have been more competitive. But either way, they didn’t win due at least in part to Green’s suspension, and now they find themselves in the position of having to try to steal another game on the road.
They’ll have Green in the lineup when they try to do it. But will it be enough? That’s something we didn’t necessarily think we would have to answer when the Warriors took a commanding 3-1 series lead. The Finals have suddenly gotten very interesting again.