With 13 games on the schedule, Wednesday was a busy night around the Association.
Despite not having many great matchups, it was still an exciting round of games. The Atlanta Hawks needed double-overtime to take care of the Detroit Pistons, the Denver Nuggets outlasted the Los Angeles Lakers in a shootout at home, and the New York Knicks squeaked past the Phoenix Suns on a J.R. Smith buzzer-beater.
Along with some great basketball, however, came some disappointing actions. There were several dirty plays that took place Wednesday night, including some from a few stars.
First, Dwyane Wade, who has a growing reputation as a dirty player, took a totally unacceptable shot at Ramon Sessions during Miami Heat’s game against Charlotte Bobcats. Early in the fourth quarter, Wade took offense to a fairly innocuous foul from Sessions, and kicked Sessions in the groin. The official missed the kick, but Wade will surely face repercussions from the league for his actions.
Later in the night, J.R. Smith, who would later hit a game-winner, took out Goran Dragic with a flagrant foul. As Dragic was in the air attempting a lay-up, Smith ran past and undercut the Slovenian point guard. Dragic took a scary fall, and although he seemed to be okay, he did not return to the game. Smith was assessed a flagrant-one foul, but probably should have been given a flagrant-two and ejected for the play. He made no attempt at the ball and put Dragic in an extremely dangerous position.
Finally, in the Nuggets’ high scoring victory over the Lakers, Dwight Howard was ejected following his hard foul on Kenneth Faried. In the third quarter, with Faried coming strongly down the lane, Howard delivered a forearm shiver to Faried’s face, knocking the young Nugget on his back. Howard made no play at the ball, and was rightly assessed a flagrant-two foul and ejected.
Over a long, 82 game season, it is understandable that players will lose control of their emotions on occasion. There is a difference, however, between hard fouls during intense, physical competition between grown men and dirty plays.
On Wednesday night, there were a number of plays that crossed the line. Players should never put other players in danger, and it was disappointing that this happened multiple times yesterday.
The exciting play that was detailed earlier is why people love watching the NBA. Overtime, high scoring shootouts and buzzer-beaters are what make the NBA so great. Unfortunately, dirty plays from a few players will overshadow what was otherwise yet another entertaining night of NBA action.