When LeBron James and Paul George slapped hands in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals, it was a nice moment, one that encompassed mutual competitive spirit and sportsmanship by the two best players on the floor.
Chris Andersen, otherwise known as the Birdman, will probably never have a moment like that.
Since he was signed to the Miami Heat midway through this season, he has drastically changed the team on defense, on the glass and in its swagger. With his wild Mohawk and assortment of tattoos covering seemingly every bit of his skin, the Birdman looks the part, too. He’s one bad dude.
Over the course of the 2013 postseason, Andersen has shot a wildly efficient 85.4 percent from the field. He hasn’t missed a shot in six games and is proving himself to be one of the best slashing big men in the NBA; whenever his man steps in to defend James or Dwyane Wade as they drive the lane, the Bird swoops right in for an easy bucket.
The entire series between the Heat and the Indiana Pacers has been intense. With the series tied 2-2 coming into Thursday night, the intensity was taken to a new level in a little scuffle involving the Birdman and Tyler Hansbrough.
With 9:02 left in the second quarter in Game 5, for whatever reason, Andersen lowered his shoulder and drilled Hansbrough as the two ran up the floor. There seemed to be no motive for the cheap shot, and Hansbrough jumped up and obviously took exception to it. That was just was Andersen wanted, and he gave the former UNC star another shove.
The craziest thing about the whole skirmish was the fact that the Birdman managed to remain in the game, which Miami would end up winning handily, 90-79. In the conference semifinals, Nazr Mohammed was ejected for a shove to James that was significantly weaker than the one Hansbrough received.
The league will review the play, though, and Frank Isola of the New York Daily News believes there’s a chance Andersen could be suspended for Game 6. The Birdman deserved to get tossed for that play, which resulted in technical fouls for both players despite the fact that Hansbrough literally did nothing wrong.
When the NBA reviews Chris Andersen's cheap shot there's a good chance he's suspended for Game 6.— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) May 31, 2013
"I don't know what his deal is," Hansbrough said, via USA Today. "Was I surprised? No, I wasn't surprised. I was caught off-guard."
That’s what you get with Andersen, though, the good and the bad. The good part about him is that he has made every shot he’s taken this series and has connected on 18 straight field goals. The bad is that he may not be suiting up for Miami in Game 6 because of a boneheaded play that made absolutely no sense.