Near the end of overtime, Draymond Green did Draymond Green things and essentially incited a very minor scuffle with Tristan Thompson. No punches were thrown, though Thompson did shove Green’s face, but there were only a few seconds remaining, and it seemed like a standard nothing-to-it pull-apart situation.

Except for Kevin Love, who was already out of the game yet on the court before the scuffle broke out, and not just a foot or two over the sideline. He’s very much on the court here, and then gets pulled back to the bench as the relatively-more-intense part of the scuffle begins:

That’s pretty blatant! Love is all the way inside the arc, essentially at the free-throw line extended. Now, is his goal to get involved in a fight? No, probably not. It is just Kevin Love, after all. But he’s still wandering out onto the court for no real reason, given the circumstances.

The rule in question doesn’t seem to give much leeway for intent; rather, the leeway is in the proximity to the bench:

There’s not much appetite for a suspension among just about anyone with an interest in the series; obviously Cleveland is fairly overmatched as it is, and without Love, LeBron would probably have to go for something like 60/20/20 for them to have a chance in Game 2.

The NBA itself obviously has an interest in making games as watchable as possible, which means we could see an interpretation of the rule that ends up favorable to Love and the Cavs. But, at the same time: Kevin, what are you doing on the court there? The game isn’t over! It’s one thing to walk over to shake hands when someone is running out the clock, which Love was seemingly prepared to do when he initially stepped out into the corner. (Well, maybe not to shake hands.)

But to walk further onto the court during a dead ball, even with just a few seconds left? Toward a crowd of players that was pretty clearly headed toward a trademark NBA “altercation”? How does that happen? And how does Cleveland’s coaching staff let it happen? He just wanders right through like a toddler heading for a McDonald’s ball pit. That’s the same sort of poor bench control that sank the Suns in 2007.

Speaking as someone who just wants to have a pseudo-competitive Finals, though: please don’t suspend Kevin Love.

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a columnist at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer. He is probably talking to a dog in a silly voice at this very moment.