In the NBA playoffs, games often reach a new level of competitiveness. Unfortunately, that same passion can often turn dangerous.
With a little under 9:30 remaining in the fourth quarter of the first game of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Miami Heat and host Indiana Pacers, reserve guard C.J. Watson sped in transition to get a scoring opportunity at the rim. Heat point guard Mario Chalmers met Watson and fouled him to stop a lay-up. However, Chalmers didn't stop there. After the initial whistle, he pushed Watson as the Pacers guard left his feet. Losing his balance, Watson fell towards the baseline, slid through the cameramen, and hit the press table several feet past the court. Take a look below:
Watson took a few moments to get up but eventually did and managed to stay in the game to shoot his free throws. Referees initially called a common foul for the first infraction and a technical foul for excessive contact, but the latter was changed to a flagrant-1 foul after replay review. Under NBA rules, Watson had four free-throw attempts to make three shots. He ended up not needing the fourth try.
Chalmers was pretty clearly deserving of the flagrant — the question is now if he will also receive a suspension for Game 2 for his actions. It's difficult to predict the league office's decision, but losing Chalmers would be a blow to the Heat's hopes of stealing a road win before heading home to Miami for Games 3 and 4. At the same time, this play probably wouldn't have looked so dangerous if the NBA didn't insist on placing cameras and tables so close to the action.
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