The moment of contact. (Screencap via YES Network)
UPDATE: 12/24/13, 1:20 p.m. ET: The NBA announced Pierce's punishment Tuesday afternoon:
That means Pierce will be available for Nets head coach Jason Kidd during Brooklyn's square-off with the Chicago Bulls at 12 p.m. ET on Wednesday, which kicks off the NBA's five-game Christmas Day slate.
Brooklyn Nets forward Paul Pierce was ejected in the third quarter of Monday's game against the Indiana Pacers after receiving a flagrant foul-2 for hitting Pacers guard George Hill across the face while defending a drive to the basket.
The play took place with just under 4 1/2 minutes remaining in the third quarter, and Indiana holding a commanding 66-47 lead at Barclays Center:
After stealing an errant pass by Nets guard Joe Johnson, Hill took off dribbling with his right hand and streaked down the middle of the court toward the Nets basket, while Pierce pursued from his left. Hill reached the paint, neared the rim and elevated for a layup. Pierce closed in fast, reached out with his left arm toward the ball and whacked Hill across the face and neck, sending the ball flying and its shooter to the deck under the basket. (Hill, thankfully, got up soon thereafter and seemed none the worse for wear.)
The contact was called a flagrant foul on the floor, prompting the referees to head to the courtside video monitor. Upon further review, they decided Pierce's foul merited a flagrant-2, given out for "unnecessary and excessive" contact, which carries with it an automatic ejection and a fine of no less than $2,000, but "not exceeding $50,000 and/or suspension by the Commissioner."
Whether Pierce will be forced to sit out Brooklyn's next game — the opening contest of the NBA's five-game Christmas Day slate, at 12 p.m. Eastern against the Chicago Bulls — remains to be seen. Denver Nuggets forward Jordan Hamilton got a one-game suspension last week for far less violent contact, but Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes got off with just a $25,000 fine for a flagrant-2 on Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love on Sunday night. Your foul mileage may vary.
The flagrant capped an ugly night for Pierce, who went scoreless on 0 for 7 shooting from the field with two rebounds and two turnovers in 15-plus minutes, and for the rest of the Nets, who got run off their home floor by the visiting Pacers, 103-86. Brooklyn native Lance Stephenson followed up his Sunday triple-double by leading Indiana with 26 points on 10 for 16 shooting, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals in 39 minutes to help Frank Vogel's Pacers improve to an Eastern Conference-best 23-5.
Joe Johnson (17 points, three assists) led the way for the Nets, who lost their first game without All-Star center Brook Lopez, who suffered a broken bone in his right foot on Friday night and could miss the remainder of the 2013-14 season.
Video via The Brooklyn Game.
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