The argument is going to come that the referees ruined the game with so many foul calls—taking too much control and badly interrupting the flow of the game throughout.
While that's a legitimate complaint, that only tells part of Wednesday night's story.
Chicago and Miami were playing too physically and legitimately fouling each other on nearly every play for a long stretch in the third quarter.
On top of that, there was shoving between whistles and a bit too much trash-trashing for how early in the game it was. The referees had to gain some kind of control before things truly got out of hand.
The result was 51 personal fouls, nine technical fouls and two ejections by the time the game was over.
With all that monkey business going on, you know the league office is going to have to take action in some fashion and wet its beak in the process:
So who gets fined, who gets suspended and who are we going to be complaining about for unfairly getting by too easily?
Right off the bat, I don't think anybody is getting suspended for the contest. There was some physical play, sure, but nothing ever got as bad as J.R. Smith elbowing Jason Terry in the first round, which should be our yardstick for the playoffs.
However, there should be plenty of money being tossed around, and Taj Gibson will have the biggest wallet-lightening experience:
Taj Gibson will likely be suspended for that. Didn't leave floor and kept pointing at official Scott Foster, spewing profanity.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) May 9, 2013
Gibson probably won't get suspended for his irate actions, but his fine will be pretty substantial.
Jarrett Jack was fined $25,000 for a similar tirade back in mid-April, and, if there's some form of consistency (which is not always the case), that will likely be the direction that the league goes in with Gibson.
Noah's second technical didn't look quite as bad as Gibson's, but he came out onto the court to have a chat with the referees, which wasn't the best way to go about venting his anger.
While he wasn't nearly as vocal or animated as Gibson, the league will likely slap Noah with a $25,000 fine of his own for "verbally abusing" officials.
For all the physicality that was involved in the game, LeBron James threw an elbow at Noah, Mario Chalmers got an arm-full of Noah's neck on another play, and Chris Andersen body-checked Marco Belinelli into the bench, but that was the tone of the game.
If anything, LeBron, Chalmers and Anderson might get a slap on the wrist in the interest of fairness, but I don't even see that happening.
Chalmers was merely called for a foul on his play against Noah, LeBron was rightly given a technical, and Anderson's flagrant wasn't too bad.
The league has only levied an additional fine for a basic flagrant foul twice this season, and both cases were more serious than Anderson throwing his body into Belinelli.
For as much noise as this game made, it was a series of physical plays, not a single event that went haywire to draw negative attention to the league.
As such, it doesn't seem as if the NBA offices will find enough evidence to warrant heavy punitive measures and fines.
Either way, the league's charities are going to get a nice little donation from a few players, so some good does come of all this.
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