After Game 5 between the Pacers and Heat turned ugly, the league has announced Dexter Pittman will receive a three-game suspension, while Udonis Haslem has been suspended one. Tyler Hansbrough had his foul upgraded to a flagrant two, but will not serve a suspension.
Both Pittman and Haslem's fouls were also upgraded to flagrant two fouls.
Pittman clubbed Lance Stephenson with an elbow to the throat as Stephenson ran in for an offensive rebound. Pittman almost assuredly did it as a response to Stephenson's "choke" gesture towards LeBron Jamesin Game 3. Pittman was even caught on camera winking after the play.
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Haslem claimed he was simply making a play on the ball as he swatted with both hands toward
Hansbrough fouled Dwyane Wade and was assessed a flagrant one as he followed through and raked Wade across the face.
A three-game suspension is far less than what a panel of CBSSports.com writers determined for Pittman. The consensus was at least something on the level Andrew Bynum received for clotheslining J.J. Barea last postseason, something between five and 15 games.
Losing Pittman isn't a major loss for Miami though as he's been rarely used. Although, he did start Game 3 for Miami after the Heat struggled inside following Game 2. However, losing Haslem is substantial for Miami. Without Chris Bosh, the Heat are even more thin than ever before inside against a strong interior Pacer team. There's a good chance that Eddy Curry might be dusted off for some key minutes.
Pittman's suspension would carry into the Eastern Conference Finals if the Heat were to get that far. Depending on how the series goes with Indiana, he could be forced to sit out the first two games or one. If the Heat were eliminated by Indiana, Pittman would have to sit one game to start next season.
The Pacers and Heat have been bordering on an excessive foul outbreak as Frank Vogel said the Heat flop before the series started, Danny Granger has scuffled three times in the series with Wade and LeBron, Stephenson did the choke thing, Juwan Howard and Stephenson had a confrontation and LeBron and Wade responded to Granger. The chippyness shouldn't come as a great surprise.
Granger said after Game 4 that the Pacers didn't intend to back down.
"I just think we have to send a message as a team that we won't back down," he said. "They are media darlings of the NBA right now. They get a lot of publicity right now. It basically says that Indiana basketball is about playing tough, playing every possession. We're really not afraid of anybody."
Vogel echoed that after Game 5, passing the blame towards the Heat.
"Danny has done nothing to initiate any of that," he said. "It's all been a response to an elbow after a whistle or a slap of the wrist after the whistle or Chalmers knocking the ball out of David West's hands. We're just not going to be intimated in this series after antics like that after the whistle."
Pacers vice president and general manager Larry Bird wasn't happy with the way the team responded to the physicality of the Heat either, saying, "I can't believe my team went soft. S-O-F-T. I'm disappointed. I never thought it would happen."
So, yeah, Game 6 could be interesting. Though Erik Spoelstra has already tried to downplay that.
"I think it'll be a clean, physical game," he told reporters Wednesday.