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Mystery foul by Green meant something to some bettors

By Matt Youmans  (VSiN senior editor) 

May 5, 2017 03:15 AM
Draymond Green played a fine all-around game by recording 21 points, seven rebounds, six assists and four steals in the Golden State Warriors' win on Thursday. But what was the point of his third foul with 5.3 seconds remaining?
© USA Today Sports Images

What was Draymond Green thinking?

That’s a rhetorical question, of course, because there is no answer. There is no way to explain the mystery as to why Green fouled with 5.3 seconds remaining in Thursday night’s game.

The Golden State Warriors led the Utah Jazz 115-102 after Kevin Durant made two free throws with 7.3 seconds to go. The Jazz were about to get the last shot, and it was not going to be meaningless.

At the South Point sports book, the line pinballed between 12½ and 13 early in the day, with the Warriors finally closing as 14-point home favorites. As oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro noted on a VSiN show, a bettor placed two wagers totaling $50,000 on the Warriors — one bet at minus-12 (buying a half-point) and another at minus-13.

So with 7.3 seconds on the clock, Utah inbounded the ball to point guard Shelvin Mack. But before Mack could cross half court, Green pounced, lunging to hack Mack for no apparent reason. It was a 13-point game, but a foul was called, and rightly so. Mack made both free throws to put the final score on 115-104 after Durant dribbled out the final seconds.

Green’s senseless foul did not go unnoticed by the gambling-educated Twitter crowd.

VSiN host Paul Howard (@paulyhoward) tweeted: “Why did Green foul up 13 with 5 seconds? Very important to many in Vegas.”

Sal Iacono, better known as Cousin Sal from “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” sarcastically tweeted: “Oh boy — I guess it's that time of year again when the NBA fixes outcomes. This ‘foul’ costs GSW the push/cover. Sad!”

On his Twitter page (@TheCousinSal), Iacono posted video of the play:

Green played a fine all-around game by recording 21 points, seven rebounds, six assists and four steals. But that third foul?

There’s no way to know what Green was thinking. He obviously was not going to get asked about the foul in a postgame interview. And, who knows, the Jazz might have scored on that possession anyway. It’s just the latest bizarre bad beat in the NBA playoffs.

Golden State holds a 2-0 lead but is 0-2 against the spread in its Western Conference semifinal series with Utah.

The trend that continues to cash

The Wizards returned home Thursday in a 2-0 series hole against Boston. Home teams in that situation were 10-0 ATS — when betting the first quarter and first half — in these playoffs. (​-10-0/)

Aware of the trend, oddsmakers adjusted the numbers, but it did not matter. Washington, a 5½-point favorite in Game 3, was laying 3 points in the first quarter and as many as 4½ in the first half. The Wizards covered the first quarter and half by racing to leads of 39-17 and 63-40.

The trend, also profitable in last year’s playoffs, is 12-0 with Toronto and Utah each headed home facing 2-0 series deficits. The Raptors and Jazz are the weakest teams remaining, so the trend is about to be put to a tougher test.

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