The four ejections that flipped an NBA Playoff series

2016 NBA Finals - Game Six

Kelly Oubre bought himself a suspension for Game 4 of the Washington Wizards’ second round series with the Boston Celtics on Saturday night. The young forward will not be seeing the floor after shoving Kelly Olynyk to the ground.

The two had been battling for most of the night up until that point and while Olynyk was arguing with a referee, Oubre ran up behind him and shoved him to the ground. As is the case most of the time, the official only saw the retaliation blow and not the first infraction.

Now, Washington will be without one of it’s best reserves as it tries to tie up this series and show Boston that last game was no fluke. Injuries and suspensions like this regularly change the outcome of series all the time.

Here are the four examples of suspensions that flipped a series on its head:

2016 NBA Finals - Game Seven

Number One: Draymond Green 2016 Finals

This might end up going down as one of the most impactful suspension in not only NBA history, but in the entire history of sports. In a clash between a historic 73-win team and a living legend in LeBron James, every game and possession matters.

When Green swiped at The King’s undercarriage in Game 4, he earned a suspension for the following game. Cleveland’s win in Game 5 opened the door for the miraculous comeback that would follow and even the All-Star’s return couldn’t reverse one bad decision.

Memphis Grizzlies v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game Two

Number Two: Zach Randolph 2014 Western Conference First Round

Grit and Grind has been going on for a long time down in Memphis and 2014 looked like a year that the Grizzlies could finally break through and make the Finals. Instead, their leading scorer ended up grazing Steven Adam’s jaw and he got suspended for Game 6 in a deciding moment.

OKC would go on to win and move on by winning Game 7 at home. Memphis fans are still probably mad about this development even now. Tony Allen returned for the deciding game, but his defensive prowess was not nearly enough.

Phoenix Suns v Golden State Warriors

Number Three: Amare Stoudemire 2007 Western Semifinals

These Phoenix Suns teams were one of the greatest squads to never reach an NBA Finals and this series proved to be a model for how much bad luck they had. Amare Stoudemire was a force in the league back in 2007 and he got suspended for leaving the bench to defend Steve Nash.

They would win Game 4, but the damage was already done. Stoudemire was crucial to their team and they never regained momentum. The Spurs would go on to beat the Cavs in the championship largely due to the neutering of their biggest rivals.

New York Knicks' Larry Johnson (R) tries to go pas

Number Four: Alonzo Mourning 1998 Eastern Conference First Round

New York remembers the rag-tag group of players that managed to reach the championship round in the lockout-shortened 1998 season. Alonzo Mourning’s suspension had a lot to do with that trip to the Finals.

He fought with Larry Johnson and both were suspended for Game 5. The Heat had no answer at backup center and this upset ended up being a huge reason why the Knicks ended up getting to face the Spurs in the first place.

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