If this were 1986, that Tyler Hansbrough foul on Dwyane Wade would be chalked up to playoff intensity. The players of that day would describe it as a hard playoff foul. On the play Hansbrough got the ball, and yes… technically his follow through did clock Wade upside the head, but it wasn’t that bad. Did the “No Layups” motto leave the NBA? The Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat are in a knock down drag out battle that harkens back to the playoff intensity of yesteryear.
Now I’ll admit, that snapshot photo looks bad. But seeing it live, then on numerous replays it wasn’t that big a deal. Nothing but an old school hard playoff foul. The Bad Boy Pistons would have been proud. The Larry Bird led Boston Celtics teams wouldn’t have thought twice before putting someone on their ass. Bird, now the Pacers Team President even called his team soft.
“I can’t believe my team went soft,” Bird told the Indianapolis Star. “S-O-F-T. I’m disappointed. I never thought it would happen.”
I’m sure he realizes his team needs any edge it can find against the Big Two of the Heat, but he has a point. The Heat are still a Pat Riley team, and Riley’s teams are known for being a bit thuggish.
The subsequent two flagrant fouls by the Heat players on the Pacers were nothing more than malicious. Miami’s Udonis Haslem simply wanted payback on Hansbrough, so he popped him. And to Hansbrough’s credit he took it in stride. He knew a revenge shot would come at some point and he just took it. Now I’m not trying to say that what Haslem did wasn’t flagrant, but you gotta like a big guy sticking up for his teammate. That’s old school. I’m OK with that one.
But the Dexter Pittman cheap shot was uncalled for. He threw a Muay Thai elbow at the throat of Indiana’s Lance Stephenson. I can’t believe he only received a 3 game suspension for the blow.
Tonight’s game 6 in Indiana will be must see TV. Expect more bodies flying and blood shed. The Pacers are facing elimination and their old school president calling them out. I’d expect the No Layup rule to be in effect.