Early in the second quarter of Tuesday’s Heat/Pacers battle, Tyler Hansbrough fouled Dwyane Wade hard on a drive to the basket. The foul drew blood and Wade, ignited the ire of the Miami fans, and was determined to be a “Flagrant 1” foul by the officials.
It was probably a good call. Even though Hansbrough DID touch the ball on his block attempt, it looked bad, and he ended up clocking Wade in the face.
Of course, it wasn’t initially called a Flagrant…it was only after the crowd reacted to the replay that the officials got together and issued the punishment.
However, just minutes later, Udonis Haslem responded for the Heat. (Sorry about the poor quality…my Tourette’s sometimes inhibits me from taking clear videos.)
The official immediately whistled the call, and even appeared to make a “your tossed” motion with his arm to indicate a “Flagrant 2.”
According NBA Rules, a Flagrant 2 is the result of “unnecessary and excessive contact committed by a player against an opponent.”
By any measure, Haslem’s foul was both unnecessary AND excessive. When you add in the fact that it was CLEARLY payback…the decision was an easy one.
Of course the officials got together and decided that they would have a mess on their hands if they tossed Haslem after NOT tossing Hansbrough. It didn’t matter in the least that this would have been THE RIGHT thing to do.
We know how this will end. The NBA will “look it over” and decide that Hansbrough and Haslem should both be fined, and might even fine Haslem a little more than Hansbrough.
When that happens, the NBA will be guilty of being just as gutless as the officials Tuesday night.
According to the rules, a flagrant 2 warrants a suspension of one game. Haslem should not have played the remainder of the game Monday night, and DEFINITELY should be suspended for Game Six.
Of course this won’t happen. The NBA DEFINITELY doesn’t want the Heat getting bounced from the playoffs.
Even if the NBA DOES decide to suspend Haslem from Game 6, the damage has already been done. Haslem should have been disqualified for the remainder of Game 5, and was allowed to play the rest of the game.
If the Heat go on to win this series, their fans should mail the NBA a great big thank you.
And by the way…as “thuggish” as Danny Granger and the Pacers have been acting, let it be known that it was Dwyane Wade that started this nonsense early in the series with the blatant body check of Darren Collison…which of course, should have been a Flagrant 2 as well. It should also be noted that getting into someone’s face and jawing has never warranted a suspension, and falls into a completely different category than these two fouls – both intended to hurt an opponent physically.
Past that, I’m sure a lot of Miami fans will be calling the Pacers soft or “fake thugs” that can’t take the punishment. Just remember that Larry Bird, Dr. J., and the other greats fought their own battles. Maybe fans will give LeBron and Wade a little more credit when they are the ones that start defending themselves instead of constantly trying to “protect their image.”
Update (7:25 ET):
After this incredibly hard foul (read: dirty) delivered on Lance Stephenson by Dexter Pittman late in Game 5, it will be difficult for the NBA to take no action against the Heat.
I anticipate that Tyler Hansbrough will be fined (under the always defensible reason of, “you can’t touch superstars), Haslem will be fined and suspended for Game 6, and Pittman will receive a suspension of at least five games. Not one…not two…not three…but five.
It’s a good thing for the NBA that Miami seemingly took control of the series last night. It would have been very hard to suspend Haslem had Indy come home leading the series 3-2.
By the way, after Larry Bird threw down the gauntlet on his team, expect not just Danny Crawford, but also Joey Crawford to be officiating Game 6 – with David Stern present in attendance as well.