The NBA has evolved into a game where fewer punches are thrown, shoving matches are curtailed immediately and harsh penalties are given to players who consistently attempt to play the game beyond its physical limits. However, these playoffs have reminded us that physicality can never be completely removed from the game.
It's a better league now that guys aren't blatantly clotheslining each other, or singling out specific players to out-and-out maim.
However, in what we've seen from the first two rounds of the playoffs, at some point, the rules of the league advanced past the restrictions the players are able to place on themselves.
The result has been an endless parade of technical fouls, longer games and free throws coming earlier and more often in games.
It's not necessarily that referees are attempting to take over games (although at times it may feel like that), it's just that asking them to let as much go as some people would like would turn the league back into a place of casual donnybrooks.
Nonetheless, players seem to have gotten more physical with each other than in recent years, and the result is some very explosive moments and bursts of anger.
At times, it's been fun and even necessary, but there's a definite difference between physical basketball and plainly pushing and shoving.
By taking a look at some of the more physical moments of the first two rounds, we can see exactly what has gone down and what the difference between physicality and brutality can be.