As passions flare during the 2015 NBA Playoffs, physical play becomes the name of the game. Foul calls become increasingly scarce as refs look the other way to keep the tempo up. However, there are some instances in which officials have to lay down the law, like when a foul’s too egregious to ignore. Herein, we provide a recap of some of the worse hits we’ve seen during round one.
Kelly Olynyk vs. Kevin Love
The Canadian Celtics centre was slapped with a flagrant foul-1 after a tangle with Cleveland’s Kevin Love resulted in “extensive” damage to the Cavs’ left shoulder. The Cavs say that Love will likely be out for most of next season. Kelly Olynyk appeared to grab onto Love’s arm as the two chased down a loose ball. After the two separated, Love could be seen clutching his shoulder and running straight for the exit tunnel. Love called the move an “intentional” and “bush league” effort to injure him, something Olynyk has since denied (and apologized for). Olynyk was suspended for one game.
J.R. Smith vs. Jae Crowder
J.R. Smith was ejected from the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Game 4 against the Boston Celtics following a tussle under the post that ended in him hitting Jae Crowder in the face. Crowder bumped into Smith as he ran down the paint and stopped, causing him to lean against the rivaling swingman’s back. Smith bumped Crowder backwards and swung his arm out, catching the forward in the jaw and injuring him. Refs deemed it “unnecessary and excessive contact,” worth a flagrant foul-2.
J.J. Barea vs. Jason Terry
Jason Terry was apparently getting a little too close for the Dallas Mavericks’ J.J. Barea’s comfort as he made his way toward past the arc, so the point guard slapped Terry with a judo chop to the neck. Despite the almost comical nature of the seemingly ineffective hit, the Rockets’ swingman went down like a bag of bricks—it would have been a flop if he didn’t actually get hit—compelling the refs to call it anything but. Barea received a flagrant foul-1.
Tyson Chandler vs. Dwight Howard
In the realm of almost-maybes, refs took exception to Tyson Chandler appearing to swing his arm at Dwight Howard’s face during Game 4 between the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets. As a result, they hit Chandler with a double-technical foul. Chandler made no contact, but it only goes to show that even unproven intent can land you in the doghouse. The NBA decided not to pursue action on Chandler, and he was spared a one-game suspension.