NBA Finals: Tristan Thompson, Kevin Love avoid suspension for Game 1 altercation; Thompson fined $25K
Thompson shoved the ball into Draymond Green's face, while Love left the bench area and walked onto the court
The Cleveland Cavaliers will be at full strength for Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, as neither Tristan Thompson nor Kevin Love has received a suspension from the league. Questions were raised about both players after an altercation late in Game 1.
Thompson shoved the ball into Draymond Green's face at the end of the game following a flagrant 2 foul, which resulted in an ejection. Some felt that pushing the ball into Green's face and the ensuing follow through, which could have been construed as a punch, could earn Thompson a suspension. Instead the NBA announced on Friday that Thompson will be fined $25,000 with no further penalty. Thompson's Flagrant 2 was also downgraded to a Flagrant 1.
Teammate Kevin Love was also under the microscope after leaving the bench area and walking onto the court. However, the NBA will reportedly not punish him after conducting an investigation into Love's actions. The league's ruling, per Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports, was that Love stepped onto the floor to contest the Thompson foul call, but retreated to the bench when the altercation broke out.
Love did have an explanation for his actions.
"Kevin Love told me he left the bench in OT to argue the call on Tristan, walking onto the court to get in the officials' eyeline, not in reaction to any scuffle [and] before it even broke out," Rachel Nichols said on Twitter. "Video (via @bballbreakdown) seems to back this up; not sure if it will matter to the league."
Of course, the league does tend to take the context of the series into consideration. Russell Westbrook, for example, and issued a retroactive technical for walking onto the floor in Game 4 against the Jazz, so there is precedent for bending the rule.
Keeping Love and Thompson for Game 2 is a huge win for Cleveland, all things considered.
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