Wednesday, May 23

Flagrant Fouls Run Rampant In Game 5 of Heat-Pacers Series

Game 5 of the Heat/Pacers series got super chippy, with flagrant fouls abounding throughout. It all started when Indiana's Tyler Hansbrough made a hard foul on Dwyane Wade. I say "hard" and not "flagrant" because it appears that Hansbrough is in fact going for the ball. Wade brings the ball down to his head as Hansbrough starts making contact with it, and the ensuing follow-through catches Wade in the head. A decade ago, this would be commended as a "good, playoff basketball foul." Nowadays it's a "Flagrant 1." But that's how the game is, so I understand why it was called, although I'm sure Wade staying down an extra few seconds on the floor certainly helped.

Of course, being the playoffs, retaliation seems to be necessary. Again, that's fine. Udonis Haslem decides to be the one to deliver this blow--as Hansbrough is going up for his shot, Haslem comes down and absolutely clobbers Hansbrough in the face. A small part of Haslem's arm connects with Hansbrough's shoulder, but at no point did it look like he went for the ball. His foul was also deemed a Flagrant 1. A little questionable, but I suppose I can understand it. Kind of. Not really, though.

Then, with the game well out of hand, Dexter Pittman (who was on the WINNING team, mind you) decided to dish out a little poetic justice to Lance Stephenson, who earlier in the series made a choking motion toward LeBron James. The NBA defines a Flagrant 2 foul as "unnecessary and excessive contact." I think watching the video below is evidence enough of that. What a pathetic no-show of class. Even more pathetic is that the refs STILL only awarded this a Flagrant 1. If they can't even eject a player who, including tonight, has only played six minutes of a five game series, what's the point of having a differentiation in flagrant fouls, since they're apparently all the same?

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