OAKLAND, United States – Golden State's Draymond Green expects more force and emotion in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday, June 3 (Monday, June 4 in Manila), while Cleveland's Tristan Thompson is ready to match him despite nearly getting suspended.
The instigators of the altercation in the closing seconds of Golden State's 124-114 opening victory think the fireworks are far from over.
"We're trying to win a championship. Emotions should be involved," Green said. "If your emotions aren't involved you should go sit down somewhere and ponder what the hell life is for."
Thompson was whistled for a flagrant foul and ejected with 2.6 seconds to play in overtime. When Green taunted him, Thompson shoved the ball in his face on the way to the locker rooms, teammates of both preventing a greater confrontation.
The league reviewed the incident and fined Thompson $25,000 for not quickly leaving the court but did not suspend him and reduced the level of the foul.
"They made a good decision. I'm playing so I'm happy. I'm glad I'm able to play with my teammates and not watching on TV," Thompson said.
"The NBA has got to do what they've got to do with fines. I did what I had to do in terms of talking to the NBA. They made the right call by letting me play."
Thompson said he had no regrets about anything he did, adding, "I thought I walked off pretty quickly. I got an early shower."
Thompson said physical play and intense emotions are inevitable from teams playing in a 4th consecutive final, an unprecedented feat in North American sport.
"When you've been to 4 straight finals you start out not liking each other. In any playoff series you get irritated. For us it's in Game 1," Thompson said.
"It's competitive. Of course we're going to get irritated with each other. But it's not going off the court, at least not for me.
"If I see them in the summer and they say hi I'll say hi. I won't go out of my way to say hi."
LeBron's eye feels better
The Warriors can put themselves halfway to their 3rd title in 4 seasons with a home win on Sunday in the best-of-7 championship series.
Green also poked Cavaliers star LeBron James in the right eye during the game, blurring his vision in the first half of a 51-point performance, the highest scoring NBA Finals effort in a losing cause.
Green said the Warriors will attack James harder in Game 2.
"Force. From the beginning of the game. We didn't start with much force," said Green. "You have to set the tone you want to set. (Mine is) collision. It's fine. It's the best part of the game."
James said his eye has improved with medication and time although it looks worse now than it did on Thursday.
"It's better. It doesn't look better, but it feels a lot better," James said. "It's just going through a stage right now of recovering.
"I'm taking my medication that I've been given by the doctors. My eye drops and my antibiotics to help me with the recovery as fast as possible."
Shaking pom poms
Green said he wasn't dancing to taunt Thompson but "shaking pom poms" and added, "people were talking. I talked back."
"Them suspending somebody else don't make me feel good. I don't want anybody to get suspended. That does nothing for us or to me."
Thinking back to his own one-game ban from the 2016 NBA Finals for multiple playoff flagrant fouls after striking James in the groin, Green said, "I don't think it's a double standard."
Thompson said he expects if more trouble comes, he and Green will be in the middle of it.
"Draymond doesn't get underneath my skin. It doesn't bother me at all. It makes him look crazy," Thompson said. "I know he's going to try to find ways to provoke me. I've got to stay locked in.
"It's the finals. It's about toughness and playing hard. As the enforcer for my team and Draymond for his, if it had to be two players, it would probably be us. If we're going to bump heads, it would be the two guys who are the bruisers." – Rappler.com