CLEVELAND -– The final minutes of Game 4 of the NBA Finals Friday night brought plenty of drama, not all of it directly related to the outcome.
There was the mini-skirmish between Warriors forward Draymond Green and Cavs forward LeBron James that was ignited when the two got tangled up with a little less than three minutes remaining. James first flung Green to the floor, and then stepped over him as Green tried to get up.
Green’s response as he rose was to flail a right hand toward James’ groin area and then, after standing, send a one-hand shove in the direction of James, who stopped in his tracks as the two briefly stood chest-to-chest.
“I felt he stepped over me, and you’re not just going to step over me,” Green said on NBA-TV. “There are many routes you can take. Don’t just step over me like that. So we had our words and it is what it is. I don’t care who you are. I’m not going to back down from you.”
It didn’t end there. James implied Green made a disrespectful comment, which some outlets reported was the word “b----.” James did not clarify.
“Draymond just said something that I don’t agree with,” James said. “I’m all cool with the competition. I’m all fine with that, but the words that came out of his mouth were a little bit overboard. And being a guy with pride, a guy with three kids and a family . . . some things just go overboard and that’s where he took it.”
Asked in the locker room about the incident, which led to double personal fouls, Green brushed it off.
“It’s the NBA Finals. Game 4. They’re trying to tie it up 2-2, we’re trying to go ahead 3-1,” he said. “Stuff happens.”
Asked what exactly he said, Green replied: “Stuff that’s said on the court, you’ll never get from me.”
James said he expects the NBA to review the incident. With Green two technical fouls or one flagrant foul from a suspension, his status for Game 5 could be in jeopardy.
“They’ll take a look at it,” James said. “We all saw it in the locker room. You, like I said, as a competitor, I love going against Draymond and I’m all about going out there and leaving it out on the floor.
“But when it gets a little bit more than it should be, that’s what caused me to have words with him.”