NBA Playoffs 2012: NBA Gets It Right with Miami Heat Suspensions

Ezra SkobeloffCorrespondent IMay 23, 2012

(Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images)
(Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images)

Since the end of Game 5 between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers, the basketball world has been buzzing about what the repercussions of Tuesday night's actions would be.

The minute of play that involved Dwayne Wayne and Tyler Hansbrough, and then Hansbrough and Udonis Haslem, was the type of back-and-forth that the NBA doesn't want. Say what you want about "Psycho T's" hard foul on Wade, but there's no need for what Haslem did.

For the record, I didn't have a big problem with Hansbrough's foul. Henry Abbott of felt differently, but I think a Flagrant 1 was just fine.

Haslem's ludicrous attempt to lie about his actions made him look even more foolish.

"I made a play on the ball," Haslem said. Check my rap sheet. Nine years in the game and I ain't never played to hurt nobody." 

Let me address your comments, Haslem.

First, I believe you mistook Hansbrough's dome for a ball (perhaps you saw this). Secondly, since when did anyone try to go for a block with a two-handed windup? And finally, maybe you hadn't tried to hurt anyone in the nine previous years of your career, but you certainly couldn't get away with using that line ever again.

This isn't hockey. There's no need for "protection" in basketball.

It works (in my opinion) in hockey because the way you do it on the ice is by challenging someone to a fight that they accept. When someone tries to get it done with a cheap shot, like in Haslem's case, they hopefully get a call from Mr. Shanahan.

But basketball is not hockey. And although there is contact in the game, it is not a contact sport.

I applaud the NBA for getting it right and separating the two incidents with Haslem and Hansbrough. Many saw them as equal fouls warranting the same penalty. But they weren't, with or without the retaliation factor.

Now to public enemy No. 1: Lance Stephenson.

Do people in Miami and on the Heat bench really care that much about this guy? So he talks smack and gave LeBron the choke sign (he did choke though, right?). Does anyone really care?

Every team has their vocal and annoying cheerleader. The Heat and their fanbase are just upset because LeBron did choke, and it seemed like a big reason they lost. 

But so what? LeBron responded in the way he should: go off and make sure his team wins the next game. But does a guy that into himself really need Juwan Howard to give Mr. Stephenson a talking to and for a coward in Dexter Pittman to give him the People's Elbow (ironically coined by a native from Miami)?

The answer is no, and he paid the price.

Pittman probably could have received more, but a three-game suspension is a decent enough message.

I'm not necessarily surprised at the outcome, because it's what I was calling for, but let's just say I'm glad the NBA didn't find a way to screw this one up.