It didn’t take too long for the NBA to suspend Miami Heat’s Udonis Haslem and Dexter Pittman for the over-the-top hits on Pacers’ Tyler Hansbrough and Lance Stephenson respectively.
Haslem will be suspended for one game (Game 6) for a very hard foul on Hansbrough while Pittman will be suspended for three games for pretty much elbowing Stephenson’s throat. It also didn’t help that Pittman winked after the foul on Stephenson.
Haslem’s hard hit on Tyler was pretty much in retaliation of an early hard foul Hansbrough dished out to Dwayne Wade but unlike Haslem’s hit, Hansbrough’s foul wasn’t as brutal.
Pittman, on the other hand, was pretty much head hunting when Stephenson went to the rim. It was clear Pittman was seeking to send a message to Lance after Lance had given the Heat the choke sign earlier in the series.
Losing Pittman for the next three games really won’t hurt the Heat but losing Haslem for Game 6 will.
Haslem has been playing solid for Miami and losing their second best interior defender with Chris Bosh still out with an abdominal injury will hurt the Heat in Game 6. Against the Pacers, Haslem is averaging 6 points, 4.4 rebounds, and shooting 52% from the field in the series. With no Haslem for Game 6, Joel Anthony, Juwan Howard and Ronny Turiaf might be pulling double-duty or Miami could go real deep on the in bench and bring in Eddy Curry.
There is no doubt this series has been extremely physical and Game 5 rough play between the two teams had to be reigned in or something worse might happen should this series go seven games.
As for Hansbrough, his foul was upgraded to a flagrant two, but will not be suspended.