With Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals long decided and the bench players running out final moments of the Heat’s win over the Pacers, Norris Cole and Jeff Pendergraph were ejected.
Pendergraph shoved Cole as Cole attempted to fight through a Pendergraph screen, and both postured at each other to indicate they weren’t afraid of throwing down. Unless Cole said something, it didn’t appear he did anything to warrant an ejection. Must he immediately retreat once Pendergraph pushes him? I don’t think that’s a fair standard.
More likely, the officials just wanted to prevent a clearly frustrated Pacers team from escalating the problem and diffused the situation by ejecting both players.
As the players waited for the referees to sort out the problem, Pendergraph started jawing with Flo Rida’s manager, according to Craig Sager. The manager was ejected from the arena, and Flo Rida ensured he left in a timely fashion, Sager said.
So far, the only substantive accounts of the Matt Barnes-Derek Fisher altercation have come from anonymous sources.
The Knicks coach has deflected questions.
But Barnes is giving his account, at least of the lead-up.
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:
It’s completely understandable that Barnes would act to ensure his children’s welfare.
And let’s say everything he said is true. It still leaves important questions unanswered.
Did Barnes – as he reportedly texted a friend he did – beat up Fisher and spit on his estranged wife, Gloria Govan? If so, why did Barnes deem that necessary to protect kids?
Gregg Popovich said he wouldn’t coach in July.
Apparently, he’s taking off part of October, too.
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:
It’s not that surprising to see Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Boris Diaw staying home. Veterans miss preseason games all the time just to rest. With the Spurs, it happens even in the regular season.
But it’s still a little strange to see the head coach sit out, even though Popovich also did it last year.
It makes sense, though. Who cares about this preseason game? If travelling less helps the 66-year-old Popovich stay fresh in the years ahead, that’s well worth it. Plus, it gets Messina a little extra experience. Some day, he might be the head coach.