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NBA Finals: Warriors look to clinch second title without Draymond Green

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Andre Iguodala of the Warriors contests a shot by LeBron James of the Cavaliers.

Andre Iguodala of the Warriors contests a shot by LeBron James of the Cavaliers.

OAKLAND, Calif. (Diya TV) — Steve Kerr would have appreciated receiving a little more notice from the NBA in its decision to suspend forward Draymond Green for Game 5. A heads-up would have helped him in the process of game preparations.

“It didn’t happen, so whatever,” Kerr said Sunday morning at Warriors practice.

Green was suspended from the game after he was assessed a flagrant foul for an incident with Cavaliers star LeBron James during Game 4 in Cleveland. The infraction ran his playoff flagrant fouls point total to four, which calls for an automatic one-game suspension.

In their announcement, the NBA said Green “made unnecessary contact with a retaliatory swipe of his hand to the groin” of LeBron James, who also received a technical for his part in the fourth quarter incident.

Kerr later said he was more disappointed in the fact Green won’t be allowed to play than his behavior on the court, but there is little time to focus on that now. The Warriors have the opportunity to clinch their second-consecutive NBA title Monday night, on their home court at Oracle Arena.

“We’re going to come out aggressive and confident, just like we would if Draymond was playing,” MVP Stephen Curry said. “We understand what we’re playing for, and that’s all that matters. So we hope to have a great night, take care of the details of the game. Individual guys step up and play pretty special and have special efforts and come out with a win.”

Center Andrew Bogut says the pressure has shifted even more on to the shoulders of the Cavs’ players now, especially since experts aren’t picking Golden State to win Monday night without the presence of Green.

“The pressure’s back on them. We’re not supposed to win tomorrow, not by anybody’s picks,” Bogut said. “We like those situations. We like going into those games on our floor. We’re going to try to wrap it up.”

The Warriors have two titles in franchise history, both of which were clinched on the road in 1975 and last year in Cleveland.

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Klay Thompson, one-half of the Warriors’ Splash Brother tandem, said they’ll approach the situation the same way they’ve been doing it all season: next-man-up.

“It’s disappointing, but I’m not going to let it get us down,” Thompson said. “We had a next-man-up approach all year. Draymond, we know it’s going to kill him not being there, but we’re going to go out there and do it as a team and win for him. Go out there and try to make a statement on our home floor.”

Golden State has ended each round of the playoffs on their home court this postseason.

For Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue, the absence of Green leaves him in a situation of also figuring out what to do with his lineup. He, too, recognizes the importance Green represents on the court for the Warriors.

“He brings a toughness to their team,” Lue said. “He’s the heart and soul of their team.”

After sticking with Richard Jefferson as a starter in Game 4, you could likely see him opt to move Kevin Love back into the starting five. With Green out, Love can be a bigger factor on offense and on the boards. James played nearly 46 minutes in Game 4, but might have spent too much time trying to get his teammates involved in the first half, scoring only seven points on six shots.

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