Chris Andersen leveled Tyler Hansbrough in the second quarter of Game 5 between the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat on Thursday. After four games of dealing with Psycho T's spastic physicality, the Birdman had clearly reached his breaking point.
Not only did Andersen shoulder Hansbrough to the deck as the two were running up the floor, but he also administered a two-handed shove to the chest of the Pacers forward.
UPDATE: Saturday, June 1, at 6:40 ET by Stephen Babb
You didn't think Birdman would keep his mouth shut about his Game 6 suspension, did you? He didn't.
As reported by the AP, Andersen had this to say on the matter:
"It doesn't matter at this point,'' Andersen said when asked what led to the first-half skirmish in Game 5. "It was the heat of the moment. A guy pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I let it get to me. I can't regret anything. It is what it is, bro. At the time it was a flagrant one, now it's a flagrant two.''
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UPDATE: Friday, May 31, at 7:45 ET by Stephen Babb
The suspense is over, but Chris "Birdman" Andersen's suspension is just beginning. The good news is it won't be long, but the bad news is...well, it's Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. So the bad news is pretty obvious.
Miami forward Chris Andersen suspended for Game 6, NBA says.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 31, 2013
That's welcome news for the Indiana Pacers. Though you might not consider Birdman an integral component of a team boasting a reigning-champion Big Three along with guys like Ray Allen and Shane Battier, this eccentric center has been a menace against Indiana.
Now, the question becomes just how much he'll be missed and whether it will substantially help the Pacers' attempt to force a Game 7 and avoid elimination.
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UPDATE: Friday, May 31, at 6:45 p.m. ET by Stephen Babb
For once, David Stern said what was on just about everyone's mind pursuant to the Birdman's violent shenanigans.
David Stern told NBCRadio today that Birdman"should have been ejected"for his flagrant foul on Hansbrough. "I don't know what he was doing..— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) May 31, 2013
Of course, knowing what exactly Chris Andersen is doing at any given moment probably demands more than game tape. It may require some kind of telepathy. To his credit, the Miami Heat will never have to worry about having a so-called "enforcer" to set a physical tone in the postseason.
So long as he stays away from those suspensions, anyway.
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UPDATE: Thursday, May 30, at 10:15 p.m. ET by Grant Hughes
In the third quarter, the testy play continued. David West got into it with Mario Chalmers, which prompted Udonis Haslem to step in. West and Haslem barked at one another a bit too long, which led to one of the strangest disciplinary actions we've seen in a long time: the fabled "triple technical."
Hill's fourth foul, and technicals on Chalmers, Haslem andWest, giving the Pacers a free throw.— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) May 31, 2013
Haslem seemed to enjoy the episode. He chirped at West gleefully, more than willing to stand up for his smaller teammate. His big-brother act is sure to endear him not only to Chalmers, but also to Heat fans everywhere.
At least now the Miami media has a reason to gush over Udonis "Ultimate Warrior" Haslem. The statue will be up by the weekend.— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) May 31, 2013
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Andersen earned a technical foul for the shove and a Flagrant 1 for the shoulder check. But he wasn't ejected, which hardly seems equitable after Chicago Bulls center Nazr Mohammed was tossed for doing the very same thing to LeBron James in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
If anything, Birdman's violation was worse, as he was the one who initiated the altercation. Although, I really can't stress enough that Hansbrough's style of play practically begs for this kind of retaliation. It was only a matter of time until somebody on the Heat would snap.
What's particularly strange is that Hansbrough was also assessed a technical foul for the confrontation. The reasons for that are still unclear, but there have been a few good guesses.
Just gonna assume Hansbrough gets the T for a career of being unwatchable. Not sure what he did wrong there, specifically.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) May 31, 2013
Maybe the officials are as sick of him as everyone else is.
When you think about it, Hansbrough probably got off easy. After all, there's no telling what Andersen would have done to him if the officials and a few teammates hadn't stepped in.
Birdman would put a sharpened toothbrush in Tyler and take his commissary.— netw3rk (@netw3rk) May 31, 2013
When the dust settles and the NBA has a chance to look at the play, there's a pretty good chance that more discipline could be forthcoming. With fines already assessed for some Game 4 flops and the specter of Mohammed's ejection for similar conduct looming, the league is going to feel obligated to send a message.
Clearly, Andersen already sent his.