I thought I turned on the Miami Heat-Indiana Pacers basketball game Tuesday night, but it seems they broadcast an Ultimate Fighting match instead. The bodies were dropping like flies, and two Miami Heat players will be missing some time because of the carnage they brought.
Udonis Haslem reacted immediately to a hard foul on Dwyane Wade by Tyler Hansbrough that was rightly called a flagrant-1. Hansbrough went for the ball, but in the process, raked Wade across the face.
On the next trip up the court, Haslem raised both arms high and came down on Hansbrough with a chopping motion on his shoulder and head. From my seat on my easy chair, it was obviously a retaliation play, with an ejection to follow for Haslem.
Instead of giving him the flagrant-2 he deserved, he was gifted with the same flagrant-1 Hansbrough received and was allowed to stay in the game. Considering there was malicious intent on his part, and that he made no attempt to go for the ball, the call was shocking.
It opened the door for another ugly foul near the end of the game as Heat center Dexter Pittman lowered the boom on Lance Stephenson with an elbow to the throat area as Stephenson was flying to the basket attempting to rebound. He saw him coming and laid him out.
Stephenson is the one who gave LeBron James the choke sign in Game 3 when he missed a free throw.
Pittman also received just a flagrant-1 for his shot.
It looks like Miami is out for blood and exacting revenge on anyone they think has dissed them.
After the game on Inside the NBA on TNT, Charles Barkely speaking of Haslem's play said, "That was unneccessary. If the referee had any stones, he should have got a flagrant-2."
Talking about the Pittman mauling, he said, "That crossed the line right there. I never deliberately tried to hurt somebody."
Kenny Smith chimed in comparing it to Andrew Bynum's assault on J.J. Barea last year and said it was "even worse."
What has gotten into the Heat?
It seemed like it started when the played the Chicago Bulls in April. James Jones gave a forearm shiver to Joakim Noah and earned a flagrant-2 foul in the process for his trouble.
Later, Wade shoved Rip Hamilton down right in front of the referee, and then James put up a blindside pick on the smallest player on the court, John Lucas lll, and leveled him.
It seemed like a message game letting the Bulls know what they were in for when the two teams inevitably squared off in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Bulls took a detour, however, when Derrick Rose went down with his ACL tear and Chicago took an early vacation.
Miami has turned into the "Bad Boys," better known as the Detroit Pistons of the late eighties. Was that Rick Mahorn, Dennis Rodman, and the "King of Pain," Bill Laimbeer, impersonating the Miami Heat players?
It worked for Detroit to the tune of two championships, including beating the Pat Riley coached Los Angeles Lakers once.
Riley himself decided if you can't beat them, beat them up when he took over the New York Knicks. He directed "Bad Boys ll" with Anthony Mason, John Starks, Charles Oakley, and Xavier McDaniel, though the results were not the same.
With this Heat team, they were supposed to win because they had the best players, not the baddest-asses on the planet.
Already the most hated team in basketball, they figured they had nothing to lose, because that is not an option again.
They were brought together to win championships. Multiple championships.
And if they have to leave bodies all over the court to accomplish that, so be it.
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