Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: NBA officials made a questionable call regarding a player ejection in a meaningful playoff game.
On Tuesday night, Cleveland Cavaliers guard JR Smith was given a Flagrant 1 for pushing Boston Celtics big man Al Horford during an alley-oop attempt. Smith made no attempt to make a play on the ball, and Horford was sent careening under the basket near the stanchion.
That caused Marcus Smart to get in Smith’s face, with the two pushing until they were separated.
Both players were impotently assessed a technical foul, and Smith was given a Flagrant 1.
Marcus Smart confronts JR Smith after JR pushes Al Horford in mid-air
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) May 16, 2018
"We have each other's backs," says Al Horford.
Marcus Smart had his back tonight💪
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 16, 2018
Just for fun, let’s review the definition of a Flagrant 2, via the NBA website.
A flagrant foul-penalty (2) is unnecessary and excessive contact committed by a player against an opponent. It is an unsportsmanlike act and the offender is ejected immediately.
The NBA prides itself on making sure players aren’t making dangerous plays toward each other, especially in the playoffs. The league made an entire rule about landing space after Zaza Pachulia injured Kawhi Leonard in the playoffs.
That refs allowed Smith to continue playing is embarrassing to the league. Smith’s foul was a textbook example of a Flagrant 2, and the double-tech after was a bit of an insult.
Smart and Celtics took Game 2, but no doubt the league should be looking at Smith’s dangerous actions further in the coming week.
At least Boston fans got a chant going to help assuage their feelings (NSFW):
Celtics fans chant "F**k You JR" pic.twitter.com/okMAWsldpf
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) May 16, 2018