You may not have heard, but there were three flagrant fouls in Game 5 between the Pacers and Heat. Surprisingly, nobody was ejected. At least two and easily three guys could have been tossed. But they weren’t.
As the league is wont to do, however, it reviewed the infractions and Stu Jackson — the NBA’s Wyatt Earp basically — has handed out some expected suspensions: Udonis Haslem is out for one game for his vicious two-arm smash on Tyler Hansbrough, and Game 3 starter Dexter Pittman will miss three games (no that anyone but him, since it’s without pay, cares) for throwing a Lex Lugar forearm at Lance Stephenson’s defenseless collar bone.
Hansbrough, who clubbed Dwyane Wade on the dome and then raked his eye for good measure, got nothing. His foul, which was originally deemed a “flagrant 1,” was upgraded to a more severe “flagrant 2″ but this is just semantics. It won’t affect his status for Game 6 on Thursday in Indianapolis. He will play.
This is obviously an advantage for the Pacers. Haslem hasn’t had a great season but it was arguably (well, LeBron argued it anyway; I wouldn’t) his four jumpers in the fourth quarter of Game 4 that ensured the Heat won to even up the series at 2-2. With neither he nor Bosh on the court, the Pacers will no longer need to pay any mind to a pick-and-pop possibility after ball screens are set for LeBron or Dwyane Wade. This, of course, won’t much matter if, as in Game 5, Indiana can’t keep Miami from scoring in transition. The Heat out-scored the Pacers 22-2 in transition.
Moreover, Danny Granger’s status for Game 6 remains uncertain. He skipped practice today and plans to try to go tomorrow. In fact, he said his foot would have to fall off for him not to at least try to play. His gung-ho attitude notwithstanding, if his ankle doesn’t allow him to perform near, say, 80% of his normal level, it is going to be very hard for the Pacers to beat a Heat team that has two of the planet’s best players playing at their absolute best. In short, no Haslem and no useful Granger swings the advantage decidedly back into Miami’s court.
For more on my opinions on the fouls (I agree with Stu Jackson penalty-wise), read this.
And if you want to hear me talk on Illinois radio about it (from this morning before the suspensions were decided), listen to the audio below. (via WGEM)