Following a heartbreaking Game 1 loss of the NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers had some doubt as to whether two of their starters would be available for Game 2 against the Golden State Warriors. Tristan Thompson took part in post-play shoving and jawing, while Kevin Love lingered away from the bench. The Cavs were hoping neither player would be suspended, and the team has learned that both players are in the clear.
Love learned not long after Game 1 that he would be available to play, while Thompson needs to wait until late Friday night. While Thompson was fined $25,000 for a late foul and pushing the ball into Draymond Green’s face, the NBA actually opted to downgrade his flagrant foul 2 offense.
Referee Tony Brothers ejected Thompson following a late contest on Shaun Livingston’s jumper in the final 20 seconds of overtime, and Thompson subsequently began jawing with Green. By downgrading the flagrant, the league essentially admits overreaction in the waning moments of a contentious game.
Thompson committed a hard close-out because he believed Livingston was wrong to even attempt a shot, with the Warriors up 10 and time expiring.
"I contested a shot that shouldn't have been taken," Thompson said. "I mean, it's like the unspoken rule in the NBA: If you're up 10 or 11 with about 20 seconds left, you don't take that shot. I make the contest, and next thing I know, I was being kicked out for a good contest that we learn in training camp. I don't know why I got thrown out.”
Thompson and Love will both play a pivotal role in trying to get the Cavaliers level in the series. Keep it here on AXS.com for more NBA news and tickets to select games.