Game 5 Flagrant Fouls

Early in the second quarter last night, Tyler Hansbrough bloodied Dwyane Wade’s forehead. As Flash drove for a layup, Tyler delivered a vicious Thor-hammer-like downward thrust that either knocked the ball out of Wade’s hands or was aimed towards where the ball was before Wade apparently double-clutched (I can’t tell which … little of both probably) and continued into Dwyane’s face. At the time, I mentioned it looked like he had managed to combine Hacksaw Jim Duggan’s 2×4 smash and eye gouge in the same motion, all while blocking a shot. It was clearly a flagrant foul. But as somebody on Twitter mentioned (I forget who), it mostly appeared that Hansbrough was reckless. He was out-of-control trying to block Wade’s shot and the result was, without question, a flagrant foul. Really, who knows what was going on in Hansbrough’s mind, but the result was an unrestrained, ferocious, illegal shot block attempt that messed up Dwyane’s face.

Less than 60 seconds of game time later, Hansbrough found himself with the ball on the right block trying to score. He attacked the rim. Then Udonis Haslem attacked him. With two arms, he brutally stuck Hansbrough on the right bicep and shoulder as he released a jump hook. Unless Udonis has some severe timing and depth perception issues, he probably wasn’t making a play on the ball. He was unleashing a foul. Giving the play’s timing, what has transpired in this series so far, the was the two-arm strike was carried out and the distance from the ball the hit occurred, it seems overwhelmingly clear that Haslem was intentionally fouling Hansbrough. It is hard to believe that — coming from a hard-nosed, blue-collar, fearless player like Udonis — this was anything other than retribution for what Tyler had just done to Wade, who has been the only player that Haslem has played with every season during his nine-year professional career. In 2003, they entered the league together. In 2006, they won a title together. In 2010, when there was no other option for Haslem to continue to play in Miami, his home town and the largest city in the only state he has ever represented as a basketball player, he took a salary cut to continue to play for the Heat. With Wade.

For all the condemnation thrown at Haslem for the foul, it was a measured way to carry out retribution, if that’s what he did. He obviously could have separated Hansbrough’s shoulder, ruptured his bicep or messed up his elbow. So you have to question the decision to foul another player that hard. But he seemingly made a split-second decision to send Tyler a message to never again mess with his Hall of Fame little buddy and hammered Hansbrough on the arm. Call that a dick move, but it wasn’t out-of-bounds head-hunting. That really is just a hardcore, 1990s foul.

Make no mistake, by 2012 NBA rules, he should have been tossed. There is really no disputing this. The NBA rule book is clear, requiring a flagrant 2 and immediate ejection be called “if contact committed against a player, with or without the ball, is interpret-ed to be unnecessary and excessive.” Haslem’s foul was unarguably both.

Late in the game, Game 3 starter Dexter Pittman decided to get in on the action. The backstory is that Lance Stephenson had made a choke sign at LeBron in Game 3 after James missed some free throws. Miami’s— and really, earth’s — elder statesman Juwan Howard took umbrage with this and had words with Stephenson during shootaround before Game 4. Juwan reportedly again tried to mix it up with Lance not long after. (The two actually have a history of animosity that dates back to the regular season.)

Whether this is related or not is beside the fact to what Pittman did. In a loose ball situation in garbage time, as both men were in the paint looking to get a rebound, Pittman throw a forearm shiver at Stephenson. It was clearly not a basketball play. Lance didn’t have the ball and this wasn’t a box out. He threw a flying forearm at Stephenson because he decided to throw a flying forearm at Stephenson. It says something that the force of the throwing the blow knocked Dexter to the floor.

The league will undoubtedly review all these incidents and perhaps increase the classifications of the three fouls, levy fines and perhaps even hand out suspensions. My guess is that all three fouls will be upgraded to flagrant 2s, and that both Heat players will be suspended for Game 6. I wouldn’t be surprised if Pittman is suspended for multiple games. I really have no idea on Hansbrough. He may not deserve a suspension but he could get caught up in the league’s attempt to make sure nothing even more excessive happens in Game 6 in Indiana on Thursday.

Ed note: Since first publishing, the Tyler foul explanation has been edited somewhat after re-watching it 20 more times. Still think Tyler might have gotten a good piece of the ball but really can’t tell.

  • CanePhin

    The Hansborough foul on Wade – Basketball
    The Haslem foul on Hansborough – Basketball
    The Pittman foul on Stephenson – Uncalled for! Not a part of basketball in ANY form.
    yes I’m a HEAT fan, but I can’t co-sign that last foul.

  • Evan

    Haslem’s foul on Hansbrough is NOT basketball (at least not in the 2012 rule book as Jared pointed out). However, I don’t see a suspension coming his way, especially not after Wade didn’t even get his blatant shove of Collison upgraded to a flagrant 2. The NBA — which nobody will ever admit — has too much [money] riding on the Heat making it to the Finals.

  • little B

    Haslem’s foul is a part of basketball, you hard foul, this is what happens, but he still should have been tossed.
    Pittman will be suspended a game or 2. NBA won’t be that dumb not to.
    Haslem upgraded to a flagarant 2 and maybe a fine -league won’t risk Indiana having a chance to win game 6 and making it come down to a game 7 toss up where anybody could choke and miami not get into the eastern conference finals) I was not big on conspiracy theroies until Tim Donaghy. This series proves it. 3 perfect examples of flagarant 2 fouls were delivered by Miami Heat players in this series and yet all got flagarant ones. NBA will prove this by not suspending Haslem for the next game.
    Miami better watch out next game, they opened a can of worms they might not have wanted to. Miami has alot more to risk/lose if Lebron and Dwayne start getting cheap shotted. They will see what a flagarant foul is from Tyler tomorrow night. My guess one will leave with a concussion.

  • CanePhin

    @ little b
    How can you justify suspending Haslem and not Hansborough? If your conspiracy theory is correct, wouldnt Hans have been hit with a flagarant 2 after drawing blood on DWade? If The HEAT are the NBA’s Golden Child, wouldnt last year’s banner being hanging in Miami and not Dallas? Wouldnt LBJ have his 1st ring already?

    You can’t sit Haslem w/o sitting Hansbourough. Do you REALLY want to play game #6 w/o Hans?

  • Joe

    Well, the series is over, and since it is, it’s time to cheap shot everyone on that filthy team. The flagrant on Stephenson was so uncalled for, but…. there’s no way the stupid NBA would suspend either Haslime or Spittman without suspending Hansbrough too. Let’s face it, the fix is in, I sensed it ever since the beginning of the second half in G4.

    I hope the Spurs win it all… the last of the real teams.

  • Comeonman

    @CanePhin Actually you can sit Haslem without hitting Hansbrough. IF they sit anybody what the NBA will be looking at is intent. Hansbrough clearly had the intent of blocking the shot (because he did hit the ball he just got DWades face on the follow through) Haslem however clearly had the intent of “payback” for a hard foul on one of their star players. That is intent. I hard foul that just happened to hit Wade’s face doesn’t warrant a suspension, purposefully attacking a players head with the intent to hurt them does.

  • JJ

    I’m a heat fan, but I completely agree with the assessment of all three fouls. Hansbrough’s and Haslem’s were just hard, basketball fouls. Hansbrough’s was definitely a flagrant 1, and Haslem’s should’ve been a flagrant 2 based on the 2012 rulebook. If Haslem’s had been given a flagrant 2 and tossed, I don’t think any further action would be warranted. But since he wasn’t, I think it’s fair to argue that he should be suspended for a game, although I also don’t think it would be terrible if they just upgraded it to a flagrant 2 and fined him without a suspension. Pittman’s foul was completely unnecessary, and not basketball. The wink afterward was disgusting. It definitely tainted a solid win by the Heat, especially because it was in garbage time after the game had already been decided. He should be suspended for several games.

  • Joe

    Yeah, this is my second post… but I just noticed something.

    Did anybody else see how Hansbrough was driving his arm down to block the shot, and at the last minute Wade moves the ball back at puts his head in its place. I’m not saying he intentionally tried to draw a flagrant, but it’s clear that Hansbrough tried to block the shot in that perspective. However, with the NBA not doing anything to stupid wade after his flagrant on Collison, I can’t see anything them doing anything that would inconvenience miami.

  • Tony

    I think NOT suspending Haslem would create a potentially combustable situation at the Fieldhouse tomorrow. Having said that, I have no faith that justice will prevail. Wade’s foul on Collison coupled with the flagrants last night have me stewing.

  • CanePhin

    I still think Haslem/Psycho Ty are a wash w/no suspension or both suspended. Pittman is gone for 3-5 games.

  • thecylon41

    I know everyone’s talking about the flagrants, but can someone please explain why the Pacers aren’t running a 2-3 zone when the Heat still struggles against it?

  • Donald

    Dwayne Wade is so fast. Anyone who has seen him play live can attest that he is very fast. The reason Tyler got him the way he did is that because upon take of dwayne twisted his body in a way to sheild the ball from Tyler with his body. Tyler is jumping as wade takes his last step to launch twisting his back towards tyler to sheild the ball. Tyler hits the Ball, then wade, then because they are going in opposite directions. Tyler not a great leaper has already apexed on his jump, as well as launching before the shorter wade took off, so he meets wade on his way back to earth, the follow though combine with gravity and dwayne’s leap to increase the ferocity of the hit. If Tyler didn’t get to watch the whole play in slow motion 100 times, pausing, looking, pausing, looking, so if you think Tyler was going for a block, in mid air switched to an elbow, got him, then felt his face, went for the eye rake intentionally, all in the heat of the moment. You need to check because the whole incedent lasts about a second. Either Tyler was hunting to scratch dwayne wade all along or it was an accident. I’d like to think if tyler was trying to hurt him that he’d be hurt.

  • CanePhin

    Have you seen Hibbert’s foot work? He can NOT keep up in zone. As Miami swings the ball, then attacks, he will really be in foul trouble because he can’t move his feet fast enough to get into position.

  • thecylon41

    He’s the center of the zone, he wouldn’t be guarding the wings of the zone. That would be up to Granger and West. I’m not even talking about the matchup zone. Just a straight 2-3 zone to clog up the lane. Even unathletic teams have success forcing outside shots. I’m sure with Granger, George and Hill, you can force Miami outside.

  • NoLookPass

    I think both Heat players should get suspended. I would been fine with Haslem doing that hard foul if the Wade play never took place or at least now mere seconds afterwards because it was clear immediate retaliation and the league can’t set a precedent here that its cool. The Pittman play is as dangerous as it gets.

  • Nate


    Hibbert would have 5 defensive three second calls within the first quarter. The reason they have that rule is to pervent zone.

  • Nate

    And its beyond tough to rebound out of a zone, anyone who has played basketball knows that.

  • BR
  • little B

    Hard Foul: Think twice before bringing it back into the lane (example Hansborough)

    Flagarant Foul: Think twice before you foul my player hard again (example Haslem)

    Cheap shots: Think Twice before playing basketball again (example: Pittman)

  • Ryan

    And verdicts are in….T upgraded to Flagrant 2, no suspension. Haslem Flagrant 2, out game 6. Pittman Flagrant 2, out 3 games. Exactly as I hoped it would play out. Let’s hold serve tomorrow night in a big way.

  • Realist

    Approved. Bring on Game 6.

    (Pittman could’ve got 20 and no one would care, 3 might be a little light but whatevs)

  • NoLookPass

    The refs are likely to call this one tight as can be we need to pound the ball in side with Roy/West/Tyler and also have our guards penetrate as much as possible and take tons of FT and also get away from the missed three leading to easy fast scores going the other way for Miami.

    Maybe one of the big two or Anthony/Battier will commit a hard foul and the refs get nervous and toss someone. Anything can happen in a game 7 so we just need to find a way to take our talents back to South Beach.

  • BR

    how t-pain’s was a 2 is beyond me

  • StatMan31

    Instead of suspending Pittman they should have made him start for the rest of the series. That would be awesome.

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  • Chris B.

    Didn’t Andrew Bynum get six games for his forearm shiver against JJ Barea (I think) in last year’s playoffs? I haven’t gone back and looked at the replay, but I seem to remember Bynum hitting him in the ribs while he was in midair. If that was worth six games then I would think Pittman’s foul would be worth at least that much as well, since he threw his forearm/elbow right at Stephenson’s throat.

  • Realist

    StatMan31 wins the internet.

    Chris B: Bynum got 5 games (reduced to 4 due to the shortened season). Pittman getting at least that would seem reasonable, agreed (especially considering Pittman was sent in as a hitman and then winked at his contractors like a sicko whilst Bynum’s was really just a spur of the moment type tantrum). But, the NBA’s fairness compass is so f*cked up right now it’s a miracle they got Hansbrough’s and Haslem’s rulings about right.

  • thecylon41

    The Pacers primary concern should be stopping the initial penetration. Wade and Lebron are blowing by their initial defender and collapsing the defense before they can even react. So yeah, I know that rebounding suffers with a 2-3 zone. But, unless you bring down their 61% shooting. SIXTY ONE PERCENT. Then you’re not winning anyway. And you’re worried about the effect a 2-3 zone has on rebounding?

  • Nate

    They won’t shoot like that again. The one argument ill make for a zone is that it keeps Granger out of foul trouble and away from 1-1 with Lebron. If Lebron decides he wants to attack and especially with Granger being hurt, i can see Lebron just going off. Hide, Granger and West’s injuries. I would play a soft, sagged back zone that encourages them to shoot three’s. My opinion changes because Haslem was their only respectable big man that can shoot a mid range jumper. But it still worries me someone trying to box out Lebron and Wade on the back side part of the zone, but it cant hurt to try @thecylon41!

  • thecylon41

    That initial penetration is causing too many problems defensively. They had 50 and 46 pts in the paint in the past two games and are already beating you on the boards the past two games. I agree that they’re not shooting 61% again, but I’d switch to the 2-3 just to throw something else at them and because Wade and Lebron get frustrated when they can’t get into the lane and showboat. See last year’s Finals. Whenever, the Mavs needed to break their rhythm, they went to a 2-3 zone. By the way, they also won.

  • Chris B.

    I just read a quote from Wade where he claimed that the physicality of this series was initiated by the Pacers. I believe it was Wade’s cheap shot on Darren Collison in Game 2 that was the first flagrant foul of the series (and he should’ve been tossed for it). Just sayin.

  • @ Chris B

    @Chris B
    I think he means the trash talking, “we are better than them and we aren’t scared of them talk” (Granger). And Granger getting in LeBron’s face, little things like that is what he means. Either way, I would just play bball and force a game 7. No need to get them pissed off, they are too good to have extra motivation.

  • @thecylon41

    I think we are on the same page. Do you think Granger can stop LeBron? That’s my biggest worry. I feel like LeBron in attack mode is the best player since Jordan. When he shoots jumpers (your zone idea), then he is a top 5 player in the league.

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  • Derek U

    Idiots that believe Tyler’s foul is on par with UD’s foul need to just cancel their cable, sell their tickets, and stare down a barrel of a loaded gun and question their worth in society; CanePhin, please finish yourself off. It’s called a play on the basketball. If Tyler just threw his arms wildly and nailed Wade in the face, then I could see the flagrant 2. But it was a play on the ball, shit happens. UD got his deserved game, and Pittman got off lucky. I agree with the above assement of Bynum. If he got 5 initially, then Pittman should receive 7 easily.

    The fact that T was upgraded to a flagrant 2 is a joke considering what Wade got away with on DC. It’s been a chippy series, with some randomly poor officiating… If the pacer bench had a potent scorer this could be a different series (insert Eric Gordon next season maybe?.. /me salivates)

  • Question

    @Derek U
    Gordon isnt coming off the bench for anyone. He is a starter in this league. Gordon gets paid 3.8 and has one year remaining on his deal – he will get a pretty nice deal from someone (probably over paid by a lower level talent team). The talent level is there for Indy. As the playoffs come around every year, we see teams with superstars win games (Lebron, Wade, Durant, and Rose against us last year). I still dont know where we are getting two points, down 2 with 15 seconds left. Granger talks to talk, but doesnt walk to walk – not a good leader. Id like to see a definte leader on this team.

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