As epic as the Cleveland Cavaliers' comeback from down 3-1 to the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals was, there are people who believe it never would have happened had Draymond Green not been suspended for Game 5. That includes Green himself. "I have a strong belief that if I play in Game 5, we win. But I didn't because I put myself in a situation where I wasn't able to play," Green said back in June 2016 after serving his suspension for flagrant foul points accumulated in the '16 postseason. The Cavs beat the Warriors 112-97 in Game 5 to claw back into the series. Cleveland then won Game 6 115-101 and Game 7 93-89 to capture the city's first championship in 52 years. Green's predicament became relevant again this week, with Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred choosing to suspend Houston Astros first baseman Yuri Gurriel five games at the start of the 2018 regular season, rather than during the World Series, for Gurriel's racially offensive behavior directed at Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish during Game 3 on Friday. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue was asked if there is any parallel to the boost the Cavs supposedly received from Green's suspension and the added advantage the Dodgers won't be able to capitalize on with Gurriel allowed to continue playing. "How?" Lue asked. "He played the last two games, didn't he?" Lue then proposed his own "What if?" scenario, bringing up the injuries that Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving suffered in the 2015 postseason that hurt the Cavs' chances of winning it all that year. "Well, if Kevin and Kyrie would have played in Year 1, it could have been different," Lue said. "So whatever." It would be surprising to see the NBA revisit its policy on player suspensions in the postseason based on Major League Baseball's decision on Gurriel. The NBA has consistently applied suspensions to the next game a player could play after an infraction, even if the suspension could theoretically affect the outcome of a playoff series or the Finals.
Cavs' Lue won't compare Gurriel's suspension to Draymond's in 2016 Finals
ESPN | Oct 29