LEBRON James shrugged off a hard hit from Draymond Green, who was assessed a flagrant foul 1 after they collided midway through the second quarter of the Golden State Warriors’ 126-91 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday (Tuesday, Manila time).
With the Warriors up 52-35 at the 6:55 mark of the second quarter, James leaked out after a Warriors turnover when Green fouled the Cavs star to stop the transition. Green’s arm was extended over James’ upper body and the four-time NBA MVP went down and lay on the floor for some time.
Draymond vs LeBron ???? pic.twitter.com/Um9bzys8Gu— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 17, 2017
Things got testy between Green and Cavs vet Richard Jefferson after the play and the officials called a flagrant 1 for the collision and a technical for the confrontation with Jefferson on the Warriors do-it-all forward, who went on to mock James for what he considered a flop.
“I fouled him to stop the break and he went down, and the aftermath, I told (Cleveland's Richard Jefferson) to get out of my face, got a technical," Green explained.
“Just in the heat of the moment in the game, having some fun, nothing major,” he added of the mocking he did afterwards.
Well, at least we know how Draymond feels... ???? https://t.co/MuZGUkVLXJ— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 17, 2017
James, though, bared that he thought he was decked due to Green’s shoulder hitting his head but insisted he was fine.
“I think his shoulder hit me in the face. It happened so fast, I didn't even know who it was. But I'm all right. I'm a football player," he said.
The NBA league office confirmed that calling a flagrant foul on that play against Green was the correct call, as the contact was deemed unnecessary.
Replay Review (Game Crew): if Green committed a flagrant foul in Q2 of #CLEatGSW. Ruling: Flagrant 1 on Green. Contact deemed unnecessary.— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) January 17, 2017
But Warriors coach Steve Kerr was not too sure about the call and would prefer to look at the videos before making his judgment.
"It just looked like a normal foul where a guy is in transition and you want to foul him and take away the fast break. Obviously he went down hard and sold it pretty well,” said Kerr after the game.
“But when I look at the replay, I might think, 'Oh yeah, that was definitely a flagrant.' But I haven't seen it, so it's tough to assess, but [he's] a pretty big strong guy," he added.
Two former players turned analysts, however, certainly disagreed with the ruling on the play.
“Flagrant 1 on Draymond?? What has happened to my league??” posted Reggie Miller on his Twitter account.
Flagrant 1 on Draymond?? What has happened to my league??— Reggie Miller (@ReggieMillerTNT) January 17, 2017
On TNT’s Inside the NBA panel, Shaquille O’Neal agreed with the call but Charles Barkley called it ‘bogus.’
Chuck's reaction to the LeBron/Draymond play: "That's bogus!" pic.twitter.com/w9ZvtTMj37— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 17, 2017
Green’s teammates Steph Curry and Kevin Durant, though, brushed off the incident, with Curry calling it a case of ‘two strong forces coming together.’
“I don’t read much into that at all,” he said.
“Oh that was nothing. Flagrant foul, they shot their free throws, we moved on. Nothing serious,” added Durant.