There’s no fine line on flagrant fouls
Suspensions, ejections, cheap shots, and knowing better
BY DAVID THORPE
In Game 7 of the 2008 Eastern Conference Finals, the Cavs and Celtics had a jump ball with one minute remaining. The Cavs had been surging. If they recovered the ball, they’d have a chance to tie the game. Zydrunas Ilgauskas controlled the tip, and poked it to LeBron James leaking toward the 3-point line.
Paul Pierce, though. The Celtics star knew he had one job: Keep LeBron from that ball. LeBron wanted the ball, but Pierce needed it, and had a body into LeBron before the young Cavs star even knew he was in a fight. LeBron’s a far better athlete, but he was badly outfought on this play, thanks to Pierce’s all-out ferocity.
There’s a timing and a technique to playing with the jet engines roaring. That’s what it takes.
Meanwhile, halfway through the first round, these playoffs have made news for:
Dillon Brooks tagging LeBron James in the groin;
Joel Embiid kicking Nic Claxton in the groin;
James Harden hitting Royce O’Neale in the groin;
Draymond Green stomping on Domantas Sabonis;
Jayson Tatum making contact with a referee;
Dejounte Murray bumping a referee;
Am I missing anything?
These were moments of brainlessness by some of the league’s savviest players. Fans have to be wondering, “Why are all these non-basketball plays dominating the news?” And the most common explanation in the media has been: This is what it takes. The competitive fires burn so brightly you have to expect some nut punches and ref bumps.
Well, that’s horseshit.
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