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NBA Finals: Tensions high as series goes back to Oakland

NBA Finals: Tensions high as series goes back to Oakland
Published On: Sun, Jun 11
Apr 28, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis (left) attends the NBA playoff game between the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Draymond Green had steered clear of trouble this time.

But this was Cleveland " again. This was Game 4 of the NBA Finals " again. And so, with the Golden State Warriors hoping their night would end with champagne showers like it had here two years ago, it was Draymond-vu all over again.

But the Cavs 137-116 win that forced a Game 5 at Oracle Arena on Monday will be remembered for much more than the ejection-non ejection fiasco that was one of many officiating black eyes on the night. And Green, whose Game 5 suspension in 2016 was the turning point of the Warriors unprecedented collapse from a 3-1 lead after he swiped at LeBron James' crotch in Game 4, was hardly alone when it came to hijinks.

War(s) of words

Kevin Durant v. Dahntay Jones was one thing.

Midway through the second quarter, with the Cavs up 60-46 and well on their way to an unreal 86-68 lead at halftime, the Warriors star had a verbal back and forth with the Cavs reserve guard who has played 34 combined minutes in 17 playoff games. Jones, per his norm, was on the bench at the time and was given a technical foul.

It was a costly move for the 36-year-old who was signed to a minimum salary contract just before the playoffs and who has made a habit of this of late. According to ESPNs Brian Windhorst, the out-of-pocket price for Jones playoff fines ($9,000) is now nearly as much as the lump sum of his pro-rated earnings ($9,127).

But when it comes to a war of words on the games biggest stage, Durant vs. LeBron James was on a whole different level. Midway through the third quarter, after Durant was hit on the head by the Cavs Kevin Love in what was deemed a flagrant foul, Durant went out of his way to be heard on the matter amid several Cavs players. Eventually, Durant and James squared off to discuss the matter.

We weren't coming to blows; we were just talking, Durant said. That's a part of basketball. The game of basketball created that. The refs didn't. We didn't as players. It's like the aura of the game created trash talk and just communication out there. So I know you could take away the physical part of the game as far as controlling stuff, but emotionally that should be us, that should be what the players have as their own out there.

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Kyrie Irving PG
Dahntay Jones SG
Timofey Mozgov C
Mo Williams PG
Channing Frye PF
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Anderson Varejao PF
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James Jones SG
Richard Jefferson SF
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