- Heat vs. Pacers: Series Hub
INDIANAPOLIS – Miami forward Chris (Birdman) Andersen got his wings clipped for a night – he’s missing Game 6 of the Eastern Conference championship series Saturday for his altercation Thursday with Indiana’s Tyler Hansbrough. But it’s not as if NBA headquarters poured salt on his tail for the rest of the playoffs or his career.
“I’m not going to change who I am and how I play,” Andersen told reporters after Miami’s morning shootaround. “I just have to keep my composure a little better and be smarter and make the right decision the next time something like that happens.”
The next time “something like that happens,” if Andersen keeps his composure, it won’t happen at all. He started the incident with Hanbrough in the second quarter of Game 5, throwing a blindside shoulder into the Pacers forward as the two headed upcourt.
After Hansbrough got up off the court, the two banged chests. Then Andersen pushed Hansbrough back with a two-handed shove. Referee Marc Davis rushed over to push Andersen away from Hansbrough and the Heat forward briefly pushed back, grabbing at the ref’s wrist and arm.
That – resisting efforts to bring the altercation to an end, the league said – might have been the biggest reason Andersen’s flagrant-1 foul was upgraded to a flagrant-2 and he was hit with the one-game suspension. If his composure had kicked in at any point before that, he might have stayed eligible for one of his team’s biggest games of the season.
“I can’t regret anything. It is what it is, bro,” Andersen said.
The Birdman will be cooped up at the Heat’s hotel during Game 6, while coach Erik Spoelstra and the rest pick up the slack in rebounding, defensive and finishes at the rim that have made him so valuable of late. Spoelstra said backup big man Joel Anthony would get minutes normally reserved for Andersen but allowed for the possibility of other lineups and options.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel said his team would be prepared for a variety of Miami looks. “It’s not just going to be [Anthony],” Vogel said. “They’ll play [Chris] Bosh a little more at [center]. They’ll give [Udonis] Haslem more time. They’ve got plenty of different lineups they can throw at us that I don’t expect them to have any dip.”