Draymond Green suspended for Game 3: How his absence looms large in Warriors-Kings, beyond

Draymond Green was suspended one game for stepping on Kings big man Domantas Sabonis during the Warriors' Game 2 loss in Sacramento. Associated Press

There is much about Draymond Green's suspension for Game 5 of the NBA Finals seven years ago that is materially very different from the one-game ban he'll serve Thursday in Game 3 of the Golden State Warriors' best-of-7 first-round playoff series against the Sacramento Kings.

The Warriors were leading the 2016 Finals 3-1 at the time, not down 2-0 in the first round as they are now. They were also at the beginning of their dynasty, having won an NBA-record 73 games in the regular season with a core group of players in their mid-20s, unlike now when they're trying to squeeze one more championship run out of a team that's getting older and extraordinarily more expensive.

The common thread is Green crossing the line -- in the eyes of the NBA at least -- at one of the most damaging moments possible for his team, then watching as his teammates, coaches and executives rally behind him to try to salvage this season without him.

And make no mistake, the Warriors are rallying behind Green again.

Initially, there was frustration internally toward Green for his behavior, sources said. But the league's decision to suspend him for stomping on Kings center Domantas Sabonis' chest in Game 2 (an action that earned him a flagrant foul 2 and an ejection with 7:03 left in the game) has engendered a full-throated defense of Green and anger at the ruling.

As one team source told ESPN, "We are livid. We paid the price already [when Green was ejected] in Game 2. We get that. No problem there. But this suspension was unnecessary."

At a news conference Wednesday, coach Steve Kerr called Green "the ultimate competitor," while noting "everybody knows he's going to occasionally tip over the edge and [let] his emotions get the best of him. That's part of it. ... But we don't have a single championship without [him]. We'll go to bat for Draymond and go to battle with him every day of the week."

Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers said simply, "Certainly, he's crossed that line but he has been punished for it."

This is the calculus the Warriors have made at every uncomfortable juncture Green has put them in over the years: Do his positives still outweigh times like these?

So far, the answer has been yes.