A fantastic third quarter from the four-time MVP Lebron James can’t stop the world from talking about a foul. An important foul albeit, but a foul nonetheless. Here it is:
Before I go into a mini-rant here are some quotes from Pacers/Heat players on the play via Sports Illustrated:
“I don’t know,” he said. “That’s for you guys to decide. In my eyes, it wasn’t a basketball play.” - Tyler Hansbrough
“I didn’t see it, so I’m going to have to see the film on it. It’s a physical series. But nobody wants to take it over the top.” – Erik Spoelstra
“I don’t really want to say anything about any calls or any officiating. “I didn’t see anything. [The referees] watched it on the tape, so I’m sure they made the right decision.” – Frank Vogel
While Hansbrough didn’t want to directly say it, his quote on the play comes off as an indirect way of saying “the consequence should have been more severe”. And he’s right. While everyone speaks on these “playoff fouls” that they enjoy seeing, everyone’s reaction to Birdman’s flagrant foul was pretty much the same: he should be assessed a flagrant 2 and thrown out of the game. Except the refs gave him a flagrant one which allowed him to stay.
According to the rules,
“A flagrant foul 1 designation applies to fouls deemed “unnecessary” while a flagrant foul 2 applies to plays that are both “unnecessary and excessive.”
Many fans referred to this play being a reason why Birdman should’ve been tossed:
Nazr Mohammed’s foul on Lebron is the exact same as Birdman’s on Hansbrough. But why did Nazr get tossed and Birdman didn’t? There’s a great reason why. It starts with an F and rhymes with popping. Yes, flopping. Lebron falling or flailing, whichever you prefer, probably had more to do with Nazr being ejected than anything. By the time the refs were aware of what was going on between Tyler and Birdman the two players were in each others faces engaging in a shoving match. And unlike Lebron, Tyler doesn’t fall. Lebron sold the push. Was the fall a bit egregious? Yes, but the contact was sold. It’s similar to refs calling the foul because a player falls when nine out of ten times them falling had little or nothing to do with the fall. Also Tyler’s reputation as a pest in the NBA probably came into play. No one would be surprised if the refs admitted that Birdman didn’t get ejected because of who the retaliation was against.
And that brings me to a quick point: half the problem with the league’s officiating isn’t always the calls that are made. It’s the inconsistencies that come with officiating games. Time after time do we see a play happen and it’s called a foul every once in a while. If it’s a foul it’s a foul. Don’t have it be a foul in the first quarter and not one in the waining minutes of the fourth quarter. Or vice versa. That shouldn’t be how things work. Complaints about the flagrant foul on Hansbrough won’t just be about Birdman not getting ejected. They’ll be about why Birdman wasn’t ejected, but Nazr Mohammed was.
But enough of my mini-rant on my problem with officiating. Do I think Birdman deserves a suspension for his hit on Tyler? Yes I do. Like Hansbrough said, it wasn’t a basketball play. The real question is do I think the league will suspend him. I think they will and to be honest, it’ll be to save face for not suspending Dwyane Wade for his flying elbow on Lance Stephenson a few games back. It’ll be a way of getting fans off of their back while appeasing some fans.
What do you guys think. Should he be suspended? Let us know via twitter, Facebook or in the comment section below.
UPDATE [7:44 PM]
Looks like the NBA is on our sides here. They have suspended Chris “Birdman” Andersen for game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. It was deserved, but, like I stated earlier, consistency is still a problem here. You can’t suspend Birdman for his illegal hit on Hansbrough, but let Dwyane Wade walk for his flying elbow. I could go on about this all day, but the job’s done. They made the right move and this makes game 6 of the series 10-times more interesting.