OAKLAND, United States – Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson awaits word of a possible NBA Finals suspension after an ejection and overtime incident with Draymond Green in Golden State's opening-game victory.
The 27-year-old Canadian's actions late in the Warriors' 124-114 victory Thursday were being reviewed by league officials for a suspension that could keep Thompson out of Game 2 Sunday, June 3 (Monday, June 4 in Manila).
"If we're going to be that petty to do that, so be it," Cavaliers teammate George Hill said. "I don't think it was a big deal. We'll let the NBA figure that out."
Thompson was issued a flagrant foul 2 and ejected for contesting a final shot by Golden State's Shaun Livingston to avoid a shot-clock violation turnover with the outcome long-since decided.
Warriors forward Green waved goodbye and began taunting Thompson, who responded by shoving the ball into Green's face, prompting players from both teams to separate the two as he continued off the court.
"I'm not too concerned if Thompson is going to be available or not," Golden State guard Klay Thompson said.
"I thought it was unnecessary when he shoved the ball in Draymond's face. That was very uncalled for. You don't do that when two people are just talking."
Many teams simply allow the shot clock to expire in such situations but the Warriors have typically taken shots.
"I don't know why I got thrown out," Cleveland's Thompson said. "I contested a shot that shouldn't have been taken.
"It's like the unspoken rule in the NBA. If you're up by 10 or 11 with about 20 seconds left, you don't take that shot. I made the contest and next thing I know I was being kicked out for making a contest we learn in training camp."
Referee Tony Brothers said he whistled Thompson because his challenge appeared to deliver a blow to Livingston's head.
"His elbow is up high and appears he hits him in the head when he's coming toward him, so that's why I called the foul and ejected him," Brothers said.
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue, who said he felt "robbed" by a referee video call overrule the league defended Friday, said, "I know the league will do the right thing" in Thompson's situation.
"We usually run it out but their policy has been shoot the ball," Lue said. "They don't take the turnover. The game was over. It was no big deal to me."
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said the team will always try to avoid a turnover, even in a relatively meaningless moment.
"We're always going to take a shot if the game (shot clock) tells us to take a shot," Kerr said.
"I guess Tristan thought that was offensive. I didn't think that was being offensive." – Rappler.com