Dexter Pittman was suspended three games by the NBA late this afternoon following his flying elbow to Lance Stephenson's throat in the final moments of the Game 5 blowout in Miami. Udonis Haslem received a one game suspension after his flagrant one foul against Tyler Hansbrough was reviewed by the League and upgraded to a flagrant two.
Hansbrough's flagrant one against Dwayne Wade was upgraded to a flagrant two but Hansbrough will be available to play in game six in Indianapolis on Thursday.
Opinion on the Fouls:
Hansbrough was making a play on the ball when he fouled Wade. There was no need to upgrade his foul to a flagrant two (presumably, in order to appease Miami). That being said, the League got it right in not suspending Hansbrough. How in the world the refs got all three flagrant calls wrong during the game is baffling. Still, other than the flagrants, I have been satisfied that the officiating has not been over-the-top in Miami's favor.
LeBron James raising his elbow at Granger on more than one occasion has been sufficiently antagonistic. I have no issue with how Granger has conducted himself on the court. James has been anointed King of Basketball by the League's PR machine but that does not make him infallible. His slanderous "stupid" label regarding Granger is yet another example of his self-entitlement that irritates so many of us outside of Miami.
Opinion on the Series:
Without miracle cures for Danny Granger's ankle and David West's knee, I hold little expectation that the Pacers will even the series and force a game 7. That being said, I still have hope. I felt much better a few days ago when the count was 2-1 Pacers. I honestly believed that the Pacers would win game 4, take a strangle-hold of this series, and march on to the Eastern Conference Finals. Now, I am trying to reconcile my emotions from a few days ago with the reality of today. Again, I still have hope. I have no excuses for how things have developed. We have been beaten the last few games because Miami has been stronger, quicker, smarter, and has made one amazing shot after another. I am reasonable enough to give credit where credit is due.
If we have any chance, we will need Paul George and George Hill to play out of their minds for the remainder of the series. They will need to play beyond their actual abilities. Yes, that does seem impossible but that is what I am asking for.
Final Point of Frustration
I realize a personal relationship can overcome a state bias. Take for example Tom Crean and Dwayne Wade. Crean coached Wade in college (Marquette) and obviously built a strong relationship. After Wade's early struggles in this series, he went to Crean for help and guidance. As most of you know, Crean is now the Indiana University head coach. Crean sat down with Wade, went over tape, and counseled his troubled former player. Next thing you know, Wade starts playing lights-out.
Again, I understand the potential strength of personal bonds. But, I have to point out that Crean's salary is paid by Indiana University students and Indiana state tax payers. Arguably, while Crean owes no duty to the Indiana Pacers per se, he certainly owes a duty to the state of Indiana to do what is in the state's best interest. I will leave it at that.