The Oklahoma City Thunder took a commanding 3-1 lead in their Western Conference Finals matchup with the Golden State Warriors last night, even with Draymond Green in the lineup for the reigning champions.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have been stealing the show thus far in the series and are now on the verge of taking the Thunder to only their fifth NBA Finals in franchise history, and the first since the 4-1 loss to the Miami Heat in 2011-12.
However, Green's kick on Thunder center Steven Adams in game three of the Conference Finals has drawn plenty of attention, too.
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Dahntay Jones of the Cleveland Cavaliers was suspended for his apparently intentional groin hit on the Toronto Raptors' Bismack Biyombo just one day earlier.
It was popular belief that Green would suffer the same fate at the very least following his punt to Adams's nether regions, but the Warriors All-Star forward instead had his foul upgraded to a flagrant two and he was fined $25,000.
Although it could be argued that Green's looked a lot worse than Jones' - certainly in terms of connection - the NBA have deemed it to be unintentional. Durant stated to reporters on Tuesday that he wasn't holding his breath regarding the ruling anyway and was always preparing like Green would be on the court for game four.
“I didn’t even think it was something we should be talking about. They’re not gonna suspend Draymond Green,” Durant said. “He’s one of the premier players in the league on arguably one of the best teams in the history of the game. They’re not gonna suspend him.
KD's insinuation that the league has given Green some preferential treatment is a risky thing to say in itself. Whilst the 2014 MVP will probably have his supporters - Thunder fans, most likely - it doesn't pay the small forward to ponder such things now when he's on the cusp of dumping the Warriors out of the playoffs.
However, Durant went on to suggest that everybody should have predicted this outcome and that it certainly didn't require a great deal of deep thought for him to come to that conclusion.
“I didn’t even really think about it. I knew the league was gonna let him play or fine him or upgrade him to a flagrant two. We all knew that was gonna happen. The league is about business.”
If Jones was guilty, then the easy thing for the NBA to do would be to suspend Green as well in the name of consistency. The fact that they haven't has produced a grey area on what is and what isn't an intentional hit to the groin, but it's not necessarily dictated by Green's status in the game.
The Thunder take on Green and the Warriors in game five of their Western Conference Finals series at The Oracle Arena on Thursday evening looking to advance to the NBA Finals.