The Atlanta Hawks' Game 3 win over the Orlando Magic on Friday was ugly in many ways, but the squabble between Jason Richardson and Zaza Pachulia wasn't exactly that bad. Zaza delivered a solid foul to a driving Dwight Howard; Howard swung his elbow a bit in the follow-through (sneaky-dirty) and Zaza swung back. Richardson flew it to say, "Hey! Stop that!" But Pachulia was like, "Hey! You're not the boss of me!" Open-handed violence followed. Roll tape.
Richardson acted like a dolt; they call this "fire!" and "toughness!" and "never backing down!" in sports, but really, J-Rich was just looking for a fight. I refuse to buy the argument that Dwight Howard needs to be protected from Zaza Pachulia. Howard grazed Zaza with the elbow, and Zaza fought it off before motioning to the referees. No reason for Richardson to dive in for a showdown.
From there, Richardson decided he didn't like Pachulia talking back; the minor head butts from Zaza likely didn't help either. So J-Rich earned himself what I can only imagine will be a Game 4 suspension, which is crushing for the Magic, already down 2-1. We'll find out soon enough.
People, calm down! Stop shoving other people in the face!