Near the very end of the Cavaliers’ win over the Magic on Friday, Orlando’s Andrew Nicholson was called for a flagrant two foul that resulted in an automatic ejection for shoving Anderson Varejao to the floor.
Apparently Nicholson didn’t appreciate the fact that Varejao scored the meaningless basket with the Cavs up six and just 10 seconds remaining, but being only a two-possession game at the time and considering that Varejao received the pass at the rim with no one around him, scoring the ball was hardly deserving of Nicholson’s response.
Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal had the postgame reaction:
“I didn’t mean to hurt him, I didn’t try to hurt him,” Nicholson said. “I didn’t think I pushed him that hard. But it’s part of the game.”
Waiters called it a “cheap shot” even though he didn’t actually see it. Neither did Mike Brown. Waiters had his back turned and heard Varejao hollering on the ground in pain. Waiters thought he heard Nicholson say something like, “You don’t do that,” referring to the unnecessary basket, but he wasn’t sure. …
As for Varejao’s point of view of the whole thing, he didn’t see it either. He simply laid the ball in and was shoved. Live it didn’t look malicious, but on the replay it was clear Nicholson extended both arms in shoving Varejao. “I was surprised,” Varejao said. “The game was over and there was no reason for that.”
It was an unnecessary cheap shot, but one that likely won’t require any additional punishment from the league in the form of a fine or suspension.