Golden State took a big loss Tuesday night — without even playing.
The biggest news of the night wasn’t Phoenix pulling even in their series against the Los Angeles Clippers, or Cleveland tying its series against New York, or Boston taking a 2-0 lead over Atlanta.
It came in the middle of the third quarter of the Suns-Clippers game, when the NBA announced that Warriors forward Draymond Green will be suspended for Game 3 against Sacramento on Thursday night.
Green will miss a crucial game — the Warriors trail the Kings 2-0 — because he stepped on the chest of Sacramento center Domantas Sabonis in the fourth quarter of Game 2. Sabonis has a bruised sternum and is listed as questionable for Thursday.
Another trio of Game 2’s await on Wednesday, with the Los Angeles Lakers at Memphis, Miami at Milwaukee and Minnesota at Denver. The Lakers, Heat and Nuggets will be seeking 2-0 leads.
We start with the Game 3’s on Thursday — Philadelphia at Brooklyn, Sacramento at Golden State and Phoenix at the Clippers.
HOW TO WATCH
— Most games being played Wednesday and Thursday will be shown nationally on TNT. The exceptions are Heat-Bucks on Wednesday and Suns-Clippers on Thursday; they’ll all be on NBA TV. There’s also local coverage for most games in Round 1.
— Some games return to ESPN and ABC starting Friday (two ESPN games Friday, one on ABC). There are quadrupleheaders on Saturday (two games apiece on ESPN and TNT) and Sunday (two games apiece on TNT and ABC).
— The NBA Finals will be broadcast on ABC beginning June 1.
WHO WINS THE AWARDS?
We started finding out those answers on Monday, the first of four days of award-handing-out from the league office this week.
— Monday: Memphis’ Jaren Jackson Jr. won defensive player of the year, with Milwaukee’s Brook Lopez finishing second and Cleveland’s Evan Mobley placing third.
— Tuesday: De’Aaron Fox of Sacramento was revealed as the inaugural winner of the new Clutch Player award. Miami’s Jimmy Butler was second and Chicago’s DeMar DeRozan was third.
— Wednesday: Coach of the Year — Sacramento’s Mike Brown is the big favourite, with Oklahoma City’s Mark Daigneault and Boston’s Joe Mazzulla the other finalists — will be awarded.
— Thursday: Sixth Man of the Year will be revealed, with Boston’s Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee’s Bobby Portis Jr. and New York’s Immanuel Quickley the finalists.
INSIDE THE CLUTCH VOTE
Fox appeared on 94 ballots and was the first-place pick on 91 of them. There were six ballots that didn’t list him as the pick for first, second or third.
Butler was the only other player to appear on at least half the ballots; he was on 52, with one first-place vote.
Other than Fox, Golden State’s Stephen Curry was the only player with more than one first-place vote — he got two. In all, 14 players got at least one vote, whether it was for first, second or third place.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
A most unique streak will end Wednesday night. When the coach of the year vote total is released, Phoenix’s Monty Williams will not have the most first-place votes. (We know this because he’s not a finalist.)
Williams has gotten the most first-place votes in each of the last two years. He won coach of the year last year, but finished second to New York’s Tom Thibodeau in 2021. Williams got 81 of the 100 first-place votes last year, and 45 in 2021 while Thibodeau had 43 (but outpointed him based on the second- and third-place ballots).
Williams is the only coach in NBA history to get the highest number of first-place votes in back-to-back seasons. Somehow, no coach — not Red Auerbach during the Boston dynasty, nor Phil Jackson during Chicago’s best years — has gone back-to-back as coach of the year.
“The suspension was based in part on Green’s history of unsportsmanlike acts.” — The NBA statement announcing Draymond Green’s one-game suspension.