Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue finally persuaded the officials to give his team a call.
An hour after been accessed a $25,000 fine for criticizing the performance of the referees in during a 108-97 Cavaliers loss in Game 4, the league reached a crucial decision before Monday’s potential elimination game in Oracle Arena.
Golden State forward Draymond Green was accessed a Flagrant 1 following a review from Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations Kiki VanDeWeghe for an incident late in the fourth quarter of Friday’s contest.
The flagrant foul was the fourth of the post season for Green and the confirmation results in a one game suspension to be served Monday night in Game 5.
“The cumulative points system is designed to deter flagrant fouls in our game” said VanDeWeghe in a statement released by NBA.com. “While Draymond Green’s actions in Game 4 do not merit a suspension as a standalone act, the number of flagrant points he has earned triggers a suspension for Game 5.”
The suspension stems from an incident that started near mid court with just under three minutes remaining in Game 4.
James dropped Green to the floor with a left handed shove. As the play continued, James stepped over Green, but was hit in the groin, leading to a brief exchange between the two All-Star forwards.
Andre Iguodala missed a jumper, leading to James and Green once again locking arms, this time as they battled for a rebound.
Both players were whistled for a foul on the play, simply resulting in a change of possession.
The lack of calls throughout the game prompted Lue to blast the officiating in the post game media session Friday night.
“(LeBron James) never gets calls,” Lue said. “I mean, he attacks. He’s one of the most — outside of Russell Westbrook, he’s one of the guys that attacks the paint every single play. And he doesn’t get a fair whistle all the time because of his strength and because of his power and guys bounce off of him. But those are still fouls and we weren’t able to get them. But we’ve got to play through officiating.”
The disparity of free throws wasn’t visible in Game 4, as the Cavaliers were whistled for 24 fouls, Golden State had 22. The Warriors attempted five more free throws on the night.
The complaints from Lue extend much further than the events of Game 4.
James is attempting 5.4 free throws through 18 post season games this year, nearly three fewer than he is averaged during the course of his 13-year career.
During the four game series, James has yet to attempt more than five foul shots in a single game, despite being the most aggressive player on offense in the series.
On average, James is driving to the basket 16.4 times per game, more than triple the amount anyone on Golden State has slashed to the rim.
Lue and Warriors coach Steve Kerr could be seen arguing with officials throughout the entirety of the series, only Cleveland enters Monday night with perhaps the most critical call of the series.
For just the second time all season, Golden State will be without Green.
In mid-January, Kerr opted to rest Green for a night in Denver, a move that resulted in one of the nine regular season losses the team suffered during their record setting performance.
Ultimately, the loss of Green won’t alter the game plan as the Cavaliers face elimination for the first time in the 2016 post season.
“We still have to play. I mean, it doesn’t mean anything because he’s suspended,” Lue said. “They still have a great team, and we have to come out and play basketball. We can’t worry about the suspension.”