Rajon Rondo's Flagrant Foul vs. Dwight Howard's Cheap Shot

Cock of the WalkContributor IApril 30, 2009

ORLANDO, FL - APRIL 28:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic and assistant coach Patrick Ewing talk strategy in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Amway Arena on April 28, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Just so nobody suspects bias here: If you check my profile I'm a Cavs fan, and I hate the Celtics.

Breaking Down Rondo's Foul

It was a playoff foul and a flagrant foul.

Look, Miller had a clear path to the basket to tie the game, and Rondo was trying to hustle back and make a play. He got there late and overcompensated.

It was simply a basketball play gone awry. It happens. That is why there are two levels of flagrant fouls.

It should have been a flagrant foul at the time, and Chicago should have had a chance to win the game, but Rondo would not have been ejected or suspended based on that foul.

I have a feeling that a big factor in the ref's decisions was Rondo's size vs. Miller's.  I'm not saying whether it's right or wrong, just making an observation that hard fouls from little guys on big guys, usually do not result in flagrant foul calls.

Breaking Down Howard's Cheap Shot

Dalembert has definitely been getting pretty physical with Howard down low the entire series. I saw it on the first play of the first game. I saw in the video that they got tangled up, and I can understand Howard being frustrated at that point.

But that is no excuse for throwing an elbow at somebody while his back is turned. Had he connected squarely, Dalembert would have been laid out, and Howard would have been looking at four other guys out for blood, an ejection, and a possible suspension for the rest of the playoffs. 

Basically, Howard would have found out how it feels to be Ron Artest.

Bottom Line

When a guy is making a basketball play, you have to give him a little leeway because there is so much that can go wrong when athletes are trying to make plays. Things are moving fast, and they don't necessarily have the ability to gauge the possible consequences of their actions.

It's a hazard of the job, something every player knows going in.

However, when you're talking about a non-basketball play, like throwing an elbow at a guy's head while his back is turned, the aggressor has to be held accountable for his action and the effects, and what could have happened.  The league has taken the responsibility upon itself to protect its players from hazards like this that have nothing to do with their job.

So when the league evaluates that type of action, they evaluate it like the law does drinking and driving. When a person drinks, they know they have to make sure they don't drive, and if they drive and get caught, the law takes into account the possible consequences when doling out punishment.

Maybe the driver just failed to signal when changing lanes, but drinking increases the likelihood of that mistake turning into something worse to the point it has to be taken into account.

When a player takes the court, he knows going in that he has to keep his composure, and if he does something dangerous because he lost his composure, the league takes into account all the possible consequences of his particular actions when doling out punishment.

I hope that the Magic and Howard both realize that this was the right ruling not only according to the Almighty Rule Book, but also just according to common sense.

Just play the game.


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