Udonis Haslem, Dexter Pittman Suspended for Playoff Game for Flagrant Fouls Against Pacers

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Udonis Haslem, Dexter Pittman Suspended for Playoff Game for Flagrant Fouls Against PacersMIAMI — Heat forward Udonis Haslem has been suspended by the NBA for Game 6 of the Miami-Indiana series.

Haslem committed a flagrant foul against Indiana's Tyler Hansbrough during the second quarter of Game 5 on Tuesday night, shortly after Hansbrough struck Miami's Dwyane Wade and opened a cut over his right eye.

Haslem and Hansbrough were both assessed flagrant-1 fouls on the respective plays. If they were issued flagrant-2 fouls, they would have been ejected. Hansbrough's foul was upgraded Wednesday to a flagrant-2, but he's eligible to play in Game 6, while Haslem cannot.

Also Wednesday, Miami reserve forward Dexter Pittman was suspended three games for his flagrant foul against Indiana's Lance Stephenson late in Game 5. Pittman has played only six minutes in the playoffs

So while Haslem sits Thursday, Hansbrough may play.

"It's very disappointing, obviously," Miami forward Shane Battier said Wednesday night. "But we're a resilient group. … The verdict process is a mystery to players, and so we don't get caught up in it. We can't control it. We know the NBA's going to do what they feel they need to do and we need to live with the consequences. So it's really out of our hands, not worth getting riled up. We're going to put together an effort that will make Udonis and Dexter proud."

The Heat lead the series 3-2, after a 115-83 win Tuesday night in a game that had the three flagrant fouls on the court, accusations of dirty play afterward and Pacers team president Larry Bird telling The Indianapolis Star that his team was "soft" in Game 5.

"I agree with his assessment. We did play soft," Indiana's Danny Granger said Wednesday. "We got smacked around. We got beat up, we got bullied, and we really didn't respond well."

Countered Miami's LeBron James, the NBA's reigning MVP: "He's just trying to amp them up. That's all. That's all it is. He knows his team isn't soft. But with them, with their backs against the wall at this point, he knows what he's doing. He's not the executive of the year for no reason."

Pittman's presence in the postseason was barely noticed until he laid out Stephenson — who made at least one choke sign toward James earlier in the series — with a forearm to the chin and shoulder areas.

"Hard fouls are part of the playoffs," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said Wednesday. "Fouls to the head have no place in this game, not by us, not by Miami, not by any other team in any other series. With all the concussion research that's been going on over the last few years, it's a very serious matter and it just doesn't have any place in the game."

Wade sounded somewhat amused that Granger — who's been whistled for three technicals in the series — was one of the Pacers suggesting Haslem and Pittman should be suspended. Wade and Granger have had words during the series.

"We're not in here crying about the fouls," Wade said. "They fouled us. … We're moving on to Game 6. We're not going to worry about what happened in Game 5. For us, it's about moving forward."

Vogel called Miami floppers before the series started, and it's been gritty throughout. The teams combined to shoot 66 free throws in Game 1, and there have been a combined nine technicals and flagrants called in the four games since. Tension also increased after cameras caught Stephenson making a choke sign during Indiana's Game 3 victory, and Juwan Howard confronting him about his antics before Game 4.

"It's been a physical series, started by them," Wade said.

© 2015 New England Sports Network

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