Former Cleveland Cavaliers forward Channing Frye revealed a team strategy in Game 4 of the 2016 NBA Finals versus Draymond Green and the Golden State Warriors.
Green, who was suspended for Game 5 that series, was assessed a flagrant foul after he slapped Cavaliers forward LeBron James in his groin area in Game 4. He did not play in Game 5, which Cleveland won and later used as momentum to win the Finals in seven games.
Frye said on “The Athletic’s NBA Show” the Cavs were trying to bait Green into a flagrant in Game 4.
“Where, everybody was trying to bait him,” Frye said. “Are you joking? He shouldn’t have had that many fouls…not our fault. We’re supposed to take advantage.
“He knew we were baiting him. If you watch that game, everyone was trying to bait him. And they’re mad about it. You know what you should’ve been mad about? The 25 other technicals, crazy technicals.”
Many feel that if Green were not suspended, the Warriors — who led the NBA Finals three games to one — would have won that series. Instead, the Cavaliers stole Game 5 on the road in Golden State, dominated Game 6 and pulled off a Game 7 win to become the first-ever team to come back from a 3-1 deficit in the Finals and win.
Green and the Warriors got the best of the Cavaliers in their four straight NBA Finals meetings from 2015 to 2018. Golden State won three of those series, including two after it added Kevin Durant to their team.
The Cavaliers’ 3-1 comeback over the Warriors is viewed as one of the all-time accomplishments in sports. Green’s suspension gave Cleveland momentum it used to its advantage.