The League Gets The Last Punch

INDIANAPOLIS – Retaliation comes at a price, and the true cost for the Heat will be totaled up by late Thursday.

Miami will be without Udonis Haslem, whose foul on Tyler Hansbrough was upgraded to level two and the league office tacked on a one-game suspension to boot. Hansbrough wasn’t suspended for his hard foul moments earlier on Dwyane Wade, and truthfully, the league didn’t see any malice by the Pacer forward. But Haslem’s hit was clearly a payback, and the intent, therefore, was judged just as damaging than the actual foul.

That’s why Dexter Pittman was suspended (three games, and he probably got off light) for clubbing Lance Stephenson and then winking about it. As if the vicious foul wasn’t enough, Pittman went after Stephenson because the Pacer reserve gave the choke signal to LeBron James. Once again, the intent, as well as the foul, carried equal weight.

Because Pittman is a benchwarmer who seldom sees any light anyway, the loss of Haslem is where Miami could feel a pinch. Coincidently, Game 6 is at Bankers Life, where Haslem dropped four critical jumpers late in the fourth quarter of Game 4, which tilted the series in Miami’s favor. Since the Heat’s supporting cast isn’t especially deep, and because Haslem has scored 24 points the last two games, this could be a price that proves too difficult to overcome, unless someone else steps forward for Miami.

While this was a bad reflection on Haslem and Pittman, it also wasn’t the finest hour for the officiating crew that worked the game. Neither Haslem or Pittman were ejected, and while rough play sometimes slips by the refs, these two should’ve been obvious. Especially if the refs took into account the bad blood between Stephenson and the Heat (Juwan Howard confronted Stephenson prior to Game 4) and the Hansbrough hit on Wade, which they didn’t.

“It looked like the wild wild West out there,” said the Pacers’ Danny Granger, and you wonder if both teams got the message and are ready to settle things on the court, especially after Pacers president Larry Bird called his team “soft.” Well, the only thing “soft” was the punishment for Pittman, who should’ve received twice the suspension.

Playoff basketball is laced with hard fouls, which is understandable, but for a few minutes, this series had gotten out of hand. You can blame it on Granger’s tough-guy act that began to wear on James and Wade. Or go back further and cite Pacers coach Frank Vogel calling the Heat a bunch of floppers. Regardless, this isn’t the time for any team to resort to ugly basketball when talent should deliver the punch instead.

The best way to answer a tough foul is with a scoring binge or a crucial defensive stop. Leave the goons to hockey and the beaning to baseball, where that stuff is accepted.

22 Comments

  1. 2012playoffs-heatfan says:

    good job pittman! now stephenson will do the choke sign for life

  2. Abe says:

    I think, again, lets look at the stats- Indiana Pacers are getting in HEAT Players faces- talking (not performing) and fouling, GUYS- Look at the Stats-LOOK at them. It is an “unwritten” rule that retaliation happens in any sport- baseball, football, basketball; etc NOW- What is funny and IDIOTIC is Larry Bird calling his Team SOFT….Mr.Bird, please clarify, because if you are from the inner-city streets and get called SOFT- That means (PROMOTE VIOLENCE) which will only get your “IMMATURE” Players- EJECTED …Oh wait, no it is convenient for the NBA to make money and
    have a Game-7. Hopefully, when the PACERS go to MIAMI, they take a wrong turn into Liberty City, Overtown, Little Haiti or Little Havana. PACERS will win today because of MARKETING FAVORITISM- but MIA-305 wins it in 7.

    • NBAfan says:

      Do you write unwritten rules? This ain’t the streets. This is the NBA. Larry Legend calling his team soft is because WHEN the heat retaliated back..well..when I say the heat, I meant Juwan Howard and Haslem and Pittman…not the whole team….but when they retaliated, the PACERS BACKED DOWN and LOST their edge….

  3. okc2012 says:

    BTW players need to stop all this trash talking and swinging at peoples heads, the east especially is having a very hard to watch playoffs from a fans point of view, stop yappin and start playing some good ball.

  4. okc2012 says:

    Wade has made way dirtier and dangerous plays this series than what happened to him, not to mention he is always flopping or PURPOSELY running and crashing into people trying to get the 3 point play. The evidence is there stop talking about who did not get a suspension, you didn’t watch the replays if you feel that the justice served is not correct, the only thing that could have been called better was a longer suspension for pittman…. i know he’s useless, but i’m sure the pay cut would hurt him.

    Also, how slow are some of you people? What Bird is talking about is the fact that the Pacers had their worst playoff game, and basically could’ve played better if they didn’t show up, his soft comment is not telling players to go rip peoples heads off, its about playing hard and actually caring. playing with some heart and some pride. Get a brain people.

  5. ddddd says:

    I actually applaud Vogel for his initial statement about the officials calling the heat for flopping. Wade has enough injury history due to his high flying ways and his convincing acting job in these so called flops that you would think with Lebron in the building he would have added something else to his game so that his career doesn’t get cut short. However Wade still jumps out of the gym like he is 24, not darn near 30…. (i think hes like 28)… Even the great MJ added stuff to his game each time he came back from retirement so that he could be effective at pretty much 40 in spite of the joints creaking. Now Granger’s statements were a little immature, but what was even worse was Lebron and Wade even giving that the time of day. Even worse yet are the fouls that are not basketball plays. Something had to break up the monotony as the series has seemed like I was watching boxing instead of basketball. This helps but is not the whole solution. How bout everyone top to bottom…. just shut up and play basketball. Too bad the 2nd round of the west is over, now that IS playoff basketball at its finest top to bottom. The east had too many injury and mismanagement problems to be even close to what the west is this season.

  6. Chupacabra says:

    Refs are inexcusable for not ejecting Haslem and Pittman – Seemed like they didn’t dare eject Heat players no matter what they did, and that’s not the first time it’s happened. It damages the credibility of the refereeing and the NBA.
    As Chuck and the crew said, there’s a clear line in these things. The fact that the Pacers tried to get Heat to cross it, doesnt mean anything. What matters is that they did, and they have no meaningful repercussions, that’s simply wrong, and will inevitably lead to (even more) double standards cases.
    Oh, and 3 games to Pittman for that? Seriously? I guess he’d have to send the kid to the ER to get 4 . . Shameful

  7. JustBall says:

    There are always two sides to every story, and as a Miami fan I of course will side with my team. However, I can understand why they gave the suspension to Haslem. What I don’t get or like is how they are not holding the Pacers accountable for their game 6 or past infractions. Seems to me the just picked the most current and hardest looking fouls to make examples out of. Anyhow I like what someone else put and that is Miami will take this series regardless.

  8. digitioli says:

    it really started with d wade’s obvious flagrant 2 on Collison in game 2 – he should have been thrown out and suspended.

  9. Belizeboy says:

    You know what I don’t even care anymore about the suspensions. Miami wins this tonight or in 7.

  10. Slider821 says:

    All this started from the constant yappin by Indiana players Granger and Stephenson. I agree with the suspensions but the dirty plays and bad blood all spawned from them trying to start stuff with Heat players.

    Nobody cares about Stephenson but Granger needs to grow up and just play ball. If he has a chip on his should proove it on the court and quit yappin. Lebron and Wade’s mentality show that they are men playing against a team of children.

  11. Cord says:

    The Heat overreacted to the trash talking and posturing of the Pacers, I lost alot of respect for Miami for the way their players behaved during the series, its no need to potentially end someone’s career with a dangerous non-basketball play on the ball. You can give a hard foul AND go for the ball.

    • Belizeboy says:

      Wow! Have you ever heard of a double standard? Because you have one.

      • NBAfan says:

        a cut isn’t going to end someone’s career. an elbow to the neck area while you’re running full speed for an offensive rebound can end your LIFE…not just your career…

        You’re a devoted HEAT fan and I respect that…but there is no double standards…..BOSTON or PHILLY…someone should put their leg under lebron after a jumpshot and see if he rolls his ankle too just like Granger…

  12. ko0kie says:

    I don’t know.. but I got a problem with rookies/sophomore players who just want to get attention.. they rather should improve their game to get attention due their actual basketball plays

    • NBAfan says:

      I have a problem with immature superstars who want to get attention instead of working on their game to win a ring….cough cough LEBRON cough cough WADE cough cough PARADE cough cough NO LOW POST cough cough CAN’T SHOOT THE LONG BALL cough cough

  13. Bev says:

    Something is wrong here. It seems obvious that the officials are in favor of the Pacers. The calls are not consistant. And when you have a GM calling his team SOFT in light of this display of violent play, how is that good? Perhaps Larry Bird should clarify exactly what he means by that statement, because that could inspire more violence. But maybe he wants to distract the Heat from their best game by getting them involved in dirty play. Whatever the case, I think Larry Bird shoud clarify his statement. Otherwise, it could look like he is promoting violence.
    While you expect very phycical play in the playoffs, I really don’t want to see violent play, or see ANYONE get hurt or injured.
    I LOVE THE GAME OF BASKETBALL, NOT VIOLENCE.

    MsBevBlack

  14. Law064 says:

    I guess justice was served, Haslim foul was ridiculous and just dirty. Pittman elbow was just flat out disgusting wtf was his problem, it was 16 seconds left. Well Miami could be in trouble losing Haslim but Pittman is a non-factor anyhow so they won’t miss him at all.

  15. dattebayo says:

    I don’t think suspending Haslem and not suspending Hannsbrough is just. They both clobbered their opponent and just because Tyler hits the ball doesn’t make it a play on the ball. He swiped down with force and clearly intended to hit Wade no matter what. These fouls just show the Pacers gameplan, that they rather want to bruise and hit the Heat instead of contesting without fouling. Granger has gotten 3 Technicals and West 1 and the entire series kept getting more and more physical. I am not saying the Heat are innocent players, especially Pittmans foul was just unnecessary and brutal. The Pacers though fouled hard throughout the entire series and the fouls kept gettting harder and harder and more frequent. You could see that when Hannsbrough flagrant fouled Wade and when they were down by 20, the way West fouled Lebron when he was already beaten. There are no clean contests and blocking shots, there are just fouls. I don’t think it’s pretty and I don’t think it was the right gameplan, because Hibbert and West were too often in foul trouble for them to matter towards the end in the close games. Though I liked the Pacers at first, the way they played and the way Granger behaved, I have definitely lost my sympathy for them.

    • Law064 says:

      The foul on Wade was not excesive he was actually attempting to block the shot. Haslim was just trying to hit him that’s what the differance was. Plus he did hit the ball 1st Haslim just hit him in the face intentionally for revenge smh some of you heat fans are blind

    • NBAfan says:

      Psycho T trying to hit Wade “no matter what” despite making a play on the ball is your opinion as a Heat fan….good thing you’re not an official….or are you?