The NBA has announced the suspensions for Miami Heat players Udonis Haslem and Dexter Pittman for their egregious retaliation flagrant fouls on Tyler Hansbrough and Lance Stephenson. They have also rightly allowed Hansbrough to remain in the lineup for Game 6 after his hard foul on Dwyane Wade.
Haslem is out for Game 6, and Pittman got a three game suspension.
Heat fans may be upset about this, but I saw nothing in Hansbrough’s actions that warranted a suspension. He gave Wade a hard playoff foul, and he at least touched the ball, even if he had no intentions of doing so. Though he did open a cut over Wade’s eye, the NBA got it right by not suspending Hansbrough. Flagrant 1 was enough.
What Haslem did as a retaliation should have been a straight ejection, and honestly that might have benefited the Heat. They went on to dominate the Pacers, largely from the play of Wade and LeBron James, and did not really need Haslem. If Haslem had been ejected, there is a strong possibility he would not have been suspended for Game 6.
Instead he received a flagrant 1, which does not warrant automatic ejection. He is paying for it now by having to sit out Game 6. He clearly made no effort whatsoever to go for the ball, and brought his hands down in a swinging motion at Hansbrough’s face, clocking him right in the nose. It was a brutal foul, and has no place in the game. Hard fouls are part of playoff basketball, but this was crossing the line.
I feel the NBA was too easy on Pittman. He not only gave a vicious hard foul right to Stephenson’s throat, but was caught winking on camera afterwards. This was a retaliation for Stephenson showing the choke sign after LeBron missed two free throws in Game 3.
Pittman’s play was away from the ball and completely unnecessary. I would have liked to see him suspended for at least five games, maybe even the rest of the post season.
Jeff is an NFL Featured Columnist for RantSports.com. He occasionally writes about the other two major sports when he’s not on the golf course.
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