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The Indiana Pacers' general manager called his team "soft" after a blowout loss to the Miami Heat in Game 5, but that's not the real problem with this squad.
The NBA has decided to review the three flagrant fouls that were issued in Tuesday night's game between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers in a move that shouldn't surprise anyone that was watching. It all began with Tyler Hansbrough, but it seemed as though Udonis Haslem and Dexter Pittman caused a bit more damage with their fouls.
Nonetheless, the NBA is going to review the incidents and then -- at a time to be determined -- potentially hand out suspensions.
NBA confirms the obvious. Last night's flagrants by Hansbrough, Haslem, Pittman now being reviewed. Not known yet when any verdicts revealed— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) May 23, 2012
Suspensions wouldn't be mandatory, of course, but CBS Sports posted a solid piece looking at the flagrant fouls in an effort to guess what sort of penalties might await the three players involved.
The Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers played an intense Game 5 on Tuesday night, but it might have been too intense. There were several hard fouls committed by Miami, and the team might be down a couple of players should suspensions be handed out. The most egregious foul was Dexter Pittman's elbow to Lance Stephenson's throat. It looks intentional, and could wind up costing Pittman several games. However, don't ask LeBron James his thoughts on the play until he sees the video (via CBS Sports):
"I need to see it," James said. "I need to see exactly what happened. But I think there's no room for dirty plays in our game, period – whether it's from us, or Indiana or anyone in the league. We're all one group as players, and you don't want anybody to get hurt. I haven't seen that actual play, but we'll see."
Earlier in the game, Udonis Haslem committed a hard foul on Tyler Hansbrough, who had fouled Dwyane Wade before that. Haslem's foul on Hansbrough looked premeditated, but Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is backing up his player and claiming otherwise (via the Miami Herald):
"There were three hard fouls in this game, and the league will review them," Spoelstra said. "We thought [Haslem] was making a play on the ball. This is a physical series. Nobody wants to make it into anything more than that."
The Heat should start preparing for the loss of two players. It would be hard to imagine the NBA not disciplining either member of the Heat.
In the waning moments of Game 5 against the Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson received an elbow to the throat from Dexter Pittman, sending him to the floor. Stephenson was evaluated after the game for a concussion and received X-rays, according to Alex Kennedy of Hoops World:
Doctors are evaluating Lance Stephenson. He's getting x-rays and a concussion test. He may have a broken collarbone, says Danny Granger.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) May 23, 2012
Stephenson landed awkwardly after the elbow sent him up into the air. As he came back down, he was able to extend his left arm out for support, but the force of that impact certainly could have led to a broken collarbone.
Pittman, who winked in reaction to the event, is likely to receive a significant suspension as a result of his actions.
If there is anyone out there who thinks Dexter Pittman’s elbow to Lance Stephenson’s throat wasn’t intentional, you might want to watch Pittman’s reaction.
That’s after Stephenson walked to the free-throw line. Now, Pittman could have been winking at someone else for some other reason … but that seems hard to believe.
The Miami Heat lead the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference semifinals, three games to two, following a 115-83 victory Tuesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. The Pacers had no answer for LeBron James and Dwyane Wade and failed to overcome poor shooting throughout the game.
LeBron James led the Heat's offensive effort with 30 points and nearly finished the game with a triple-double, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing the ball out for eight assists. Dwyane Wade followed with 28 points while Mario Chalmers contributed with 11 rebounds.
The Heat won the rebounding battle, 49-35, and the shooting game, 61.4 percent to 33.7.
Paul George led the Pacers with 11 points while Danny Granger and David West each chipped in 10 points. No other Pacers player scored more than eight points, allowing the points to be spread throughout the bench. But that spread the ball around and allowed the team to make just 30 of 89 shots.
This series continues Thursday in Indiana. ESPN will have the broadcast at 8:00 p.m. ET
Indiana Pacers benchwarmer Lance Stephenson bothered the Miami Heat players after he gave LeBron James the choke signal during the Pacers' Game 3 win. It took two games, but it looks like the Heat have gotten their revenge, all thanks to a very dirty play by backup center Dexter Pittman.
With the game decided in the final minutes, Stephenson came down the lane to grab a rebound. Pittman responded by blatantly sticking his elbow out, catching Stephenson right in the throat.
That play is reminiscent of the elbow Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum delivered to J.J. Barea in Game 4 of the Lakers' four-game loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Playoffs. Bynum received a five-game suspension for that one.
Pittman may receive fewer games simply because the games he'd miss are in the playoffs and not the regular season, but that play was just as bad as Bynum's, if not worse. I'd expect a major suspension.
If you guessed one, you are correct!
With Danny Granger out of the game due to injury, Game 5 of this 2012 NBA Playoffs second-round series between the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat has turned into the LeBron James and Dwyane Wade show. The two Heat stars have completely taken over this game, throwing in many highlights on fast breaks.
This play was probably the most impressive. James was falling out of bounds, but he somehow managed to catch the outlet pass with one hand and fire it to Wade on the other side of the court for the dunk.
Like any good teammate, Wade decided to return the favor, throwing a baseball pass of his own to hit James for a dunk.
If Miami was more of a football town, we'd hear how that was like [INSERT QUARTERBACK] hitting [INSERT WIDE RECEIVER] for a touchdown. Sadly, Ryan Tannehill to Davone Bess doesn't really qualify.
This one’s actually pretty strong. I give it an 8 out of 10 on the Ronny Turiaf celebration GIF scale.
Danny Granger's return to the lineup after suffering a sprained ankle late in the first half of Game 5 of the Pacers' 2012 NBA Playoffs second-round series against the Miami Heat was short-lived. Granger came down again on LeBron James, this time while trying to dribble by him early in the third quarter, and he will not return, the Pacers announced.
Granger was trying to dribble the ball down the floor when he ran into James. He immediately came up limping, hopping on one leg to the sidelines by the Heat bench. After staying down for a few minutes, he eventually went back to the locker room. A few minutes later, the Pacers announced he would not return.
Shane Battier has four threes in this game after two threes in the first four games combined. That matters a lot. It matters so much that David West overreacted to Battier in the corner and left the rim wide open on a LeBron James cut to the basket. Easy slam dunk.
The Indiana Pacers, despite their size advantage inside, were completely unable to get the ball to Roy Hibbert and David West at the end of the first half. There were four possessions in particular where the Pacers’ guards dribbled around aimlessly instead of entering the ball to Hibbert in the post.
It’s a huge problem, of course, and it explains how the Heat’s lead whittled from two to nine.
But it’s also important to keep perspective here. Of course the Pacers should be criticized, but it’s harder than ever to enter the ball into the post these days because teams can play zone on the weakside. It also didn’t help that Danny Granger, the Pacers’ top offensive threat, was out of the game. Without that elite floor spacer in the game, the Heat were able to help off Indiana’s other perimeter players to further deny the post entry pass.
Indiana still needs to find a way to get the ball inside despite these circumstances, but it’s important to remember it’s 2012, not 1992. NBA rules these days make it easier than ever for smaller teams to deny the post.
The Indiana Pacers' chances of defeating the Miami Heat in Game 5 of their 2012 NBA Playoffs series just took a hit. Star forward Danny Granger has suffered an apparent ankle injury late in the second quarter, and he was taken back to the locker room to be treated. The Pacers say Granger is questionable to return to the game.
Granger suffered the injury shooting a three-pointer from the left wing. He was guarded very closely by LeBron James and, because of that, he stepped on James' foot as he landed. He then spent the duration of the Heat's possession on the ground in pain. The Pacers eventually called timeout to get Granger out of the game.
They say the NBA is a copycat league, so it’ll be interesting to see if other teams try to duplicate this philosophy.
The Miami Heat probably caught a huge break here. Power forward Udonis Haslem, arguably their third-most important player behind LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, was lucky to avoid getting tossed after being whistled for a flagrant foul for winding up and hitting Tyler Hansbrough on the shoulder with both hands in retaliation for an earlier flagrant foul on Wade.
Haslem's foul came when he picked up Hansbrough rolling to the rim. Instead of contesting the shot, Haslem slammed his two hands down right on Hansbrough's shoulder. Here's video.
For context, Hansbrough was called for a flagrant foul a couple possessions earlier after he popped Wade in the head coming down the lane. Here's video of that play.
Both players were assessed a flagrant foul, but only the "Flagrant 1" variety. A "Flagrant 2" foul, which is anything deemed to be both unnecessary and excessive, would mean an immediate ejection. Haslem's foul in particular seemed both unnecessary and excessive, but the referees obviously disagreed.
It's the second time the Heat have gotten lucky to avoid an immediate ejection in this series. Wade was called for merely a Flagrant 1 after he took down Darren Collison on a fast break.
Thanks to a defensive switch, Indiana Pacers power forward and energy guy Tyler Hansbrough was caught guarding Miami Heat star LeBron James at one point. Let’s just say James didn’t pay Hansbrough very much respect.
Hansbrough did force a missed shot, so maybe James should stop underestimating him.
For more on this game, here's our Ben Golliver.
Next step: getting his teammates to join him.
In Game 4, David West got in early foul trouble and never got into a rhythm. The Pacers really missed his post scoring and suffered because of his foul issues. Things haven't been much better in Game 5, as West is 0-5. Some of it has been Shane Battier's defense, but a lot of it has just been West missing makeable shots.
The Pacers desperately need West to get going once he gets back into this game.
For the first three games of this Pacers-Heat series, Indiana confounded Miami by having big center Roy Hibbert lay back on pick and rolls instead of aggressively challenging the ball-handler. LeBron James adjusted fine, but Dwyane Wade did not. In Game 4, the Heat responded by going away from Hibbert and instead running pick and rolls involving Pacers power forward David West.
The delay tactic is over, though, in Game 5. Early on, Miami has attacked Hibbert, and now, they're succeeding. James and Wade keep attacking aggressively off the pick and roll and have fooled Hibbert into committing too much to their drives.
This is concerning for the Pacers. Hibbert is big, but he's not getting any quicker.
For more on this game, watch Ben Golliver's analysis.
Nobody should be surprised by the Heat's fast start. Miami has made an extra effort to up the tempo of games early, and that's exactly what they've done early in Game 5 against the Indiana Pacers. All the guys off the ball are moving on offense, and everyone is aggressively trapping the Pacers on defense.
Just know that it's been only four and a half minutes. The Pacers will settle down and this will be a game.
Here's some good news for the Miami Heat:
Danny Granger has raised some eyebrows among fans over the past few games by getting in the faces of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade after fouls. Granger has drawn technical fouls for these actions, but it appears the Miami Heat stars are wise to what he's trying to do ... and they don't care for it.
According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the Miami players had choice words for Granger after Game 4.
"Whatever he's trying, it is not working," James said Tuesday before Game 5. "He's said he's not scared of LeBron, I want to let (James) know. I guess he's doing it for his own psyche. It's stupid.
"Nobody is fighting on the basketball court. C'mon," he said. "I'm not going to fight because I mean too much to our team and I can't afford to be suspended for a game or do something stupid to get thrown out of a playoff game."
Wade also had some thoughts on the matter:
"I'm all for standing up for your guys, but certain things you just can't keep doing," Wade said. "My message to Granger was that you just can't keep running up into people's faces for altercations. We're not fighting on this basketball court, so let's not act like we're going to fight. We can be physical and do all that, but certain things got to stop. Are you out here to play basketball or are you out here to be a tough guy?"
When asked about his tactics, Granger had this to say:
"I think there is a line and I'm tip-toeing it," Granger said. "That's a product of the chip on my shoulder and we have on our shoulder as a team of not being respected. That goes not just for this series, but all year. We had the fourth or fifth best record in the NBA and I think we only had one televised game. Three or four teams that didn't make the playoffs had more televised games than us. It was just a matter of being disrespected nationally."
We'll see whether Granger tries the same approach on Tuesday in Game 5.
The Indiana Pacers will return to South Beach on Tuesday and try to reclaim a series lead over the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinal. The best-of-seven series is tied, 2-2.
LeBron James had 40 points, 18 rebounds, and nine assists in a phenomenal Game 4 win against the Pacers, and he reminded everyone why he's the MVP. But it's okay if you're still skeptical.
This weekend reminded us how good LeBron James is, how much better Kevin Durant has gotten, and that Father Time can sneak up on even Kobe Bryant. That and more in this week's Monday Morning Jones.
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