No Blood, No Foul

, Friday, May 1, 2009 at 1:35 PM Comments (3)

We’ve all heard the saying, click “no blood, seek no foul.” Well, it seems like that’s not always the case. In two Eastern Conference series, that have supplied all of the NBA’s 1st round drama, there have been tons of physical play and questionable calls or no calls.

By now, I’m sure everyone has seen the Dwight Howard elbow that so eloquently introduced itself to Samuel Dalembert’s jaw 2 minutes and 45 seconds into the game 5. Howard drew a technical foul and was not ejected. According to league rules, Howard should have been assessed a Flagrant 2 and automatically ejected. Upon league review the Superman elbow garnered Howard a one game suspension; you have to love the ‘ex post facto’ rules of professional sports. That blow which drew the ire of the NBA failed to draw blood.

Did I mention that Howard’s elbow has also cost the Magic their starting guard, Courtney Lee? He was the recipient of another Dwight Howard elbow that fractured his sinus – and I thought my allergies sucked. J.J. Redick, the pride of Cave Spring High School, is expected to start in his place. I wonder what action front-runner Stan van Gundy will take to light a fire under his big man for the remainder of the playoffs?

In another tightly contested battle, there was a foul that drew blood but did not draw a suspension. Rajon Rondo laid a “playoff foul” on Brad Miller’s face. Since when is the face a part of the ball you ask – since the playoffs my friends. Brad Miller was driving to the basket on the way to score a game-tying bucket before being knocked dizzy and receiving medical attention on the sideline. The rake by Rondo was called a foul and Miller got two free throws, both of which he missed.

I’m not going to rant about the scenarios of what could have happened had the refs called a flagrant foul (two shots + possession and Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro chooses whomever he wants, Ben Gordon, to shoot the free throws). However, what I will rant about is the lack of consistency with the whistle and players’ playoff v. regular season mindset.

I hear a lot about physical basketball and playoff fouls but in earnestness, a foul is a foul. An elbow to the jaw and a rake across the face should draw the same penalty no matter the month of the year. This hits at the consistency of the game. I do not understand the logic of referees officiating playoff games differently than they officiate regular season games. Someone please help me understand this. To the players, I understand the desire to win 4 games in a seven game series but the integrity of the game should not be compromised. I know no one wants to go home but you never hear any talk of ‘race for 8th place fouls,’ do you?

Most importantly, I understand that a foul in 2009 is not a foul in 1989 but the game has evolved and so have the rules – maybe the referees should too. All I ask is that as a fan of the game, sitting at home taking it all in, give me some consistency. I don’t dare suggest that I can don the zebra stripes and officiate but I do recognize fouls when I see them and have the wherewithal to jump up and down screaming for playoff justice. Let me suggest that the NBA referees do the same.

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