There was no intent to injure in that play, Denver’s Arron Afflalo was trying to make a play on the ball. But intent only goes so far — he hit the head hard of an airborne player, Utah’s Alec Burks. That is a dangerous play. Fortunately Burks was okay and continued playing, but Afflalo was rightfully ejected from the game for it.
Tuesday the NBA added a $15,000 fine for the foul.
There was no suspension, which seems fair based on the intent. After the game Afflalo said:
“I’m not trying to be a tough guy, not trying to commit a hard foul. Things that ensue after that is all verbal in front of the refs and a lot of people. To me that means nothing. Honestly I just thought I committed a hard foul and he finished the game so he was OK.”
It was a hard foul. And also a dangerous one. The play may not have been dirty but there is a price to pay for the Nuggets guard. He knows it.
Arron Afflalo was ejected from Denver’s win in Utah on Monday, thanks to the nasty hit he delivered to the head of Alec Burks.
Burks was flying in for a fast break layup, and Afflalo took a violent swing at the ball, but ended up catching Burks in the head which caused him to fall awkwardly to the floor.
Afflalo insisted that the hard foul wasn’t intentional afterward.
From Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post:
“I was trying to go for a block, pretty much,” Afflalo said. “I’m not trying to be a tough guy, not trying to commit a hard foul. Things that ensue after that is all verbal in front of the refs and a lot of people. To me that means nothing. Honestly I just thought I committed a hard foul and he finished the game so he was OK.”
Nuggets coach Brian Shaw saw it in much the same manner.
“I understand the flagrant because it was a strike to the head,” Shaw said. “But I thought that the hit to the head happened because he ducked on the layup. Arron was trying to swipe, trying to make a play at the ball. … Those things happen. It was a hard foul. Arron’s not a dirty player, so it wasn’t intentional by any means.”
It didn’t appear to be intentional. But at the same time, it was a dangerous play, and the league may decide it was enough to warrant a fine or suspension after reviewing it several times.
Every night the NBA can be a cold hard reality — there are winners, there are losers. It’s the nature of the game. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to bring you the best and worst of the NBA each week night. Here’s what you missed while realizing you can’t really take a pig on a plane…
John Wall, the Washington Wizards. There was a lot to like about Washington’s impressive Monday night win over Miami: Rasual Butler is providing a really spark off the bench, the Wizards played their best defensive game of the season (particularly without Nene who is still out with his foot issue), and Marcin Gortat is rolling strong to the rim hard. But John Wall is the guy who brings all that together and makes it work — he absolutely owned the Miami guards on the night, scoring 18 points and dishing out 13 assists. Wall and Gortat are showing real chemistry on the pick-and-roll. When Wall is playing an all-around game like this, the Wizards are tough to beat.
Miami’s free throw/three point shooting. For everything Washington did right Monday night to get the win, the Heat just shot themselves in the foot. They left a lot of points on the court. First off, they went 18-of-30 from the free throw line, just 60 percent (the Heat are shooting 75 percent from the stripe on the season). The other problem was their three point shooting. We’ll let a shot chart explain the problem.
Denver Nuggets. They have won seven of eight now and after a dreadful start to the season they have found their groove. Well, they had that groove for about two and a half quarters Monday, then they took the foot off the gas and the feisty Jazz made a game out of it late. But still it’s a win an there were more good signs in Denver — Ty Lawson is orchestrating the offense beautifully, Timofey Mozgov was playing good defnese, and Kenneth Faried was doing Kenneth Faried things (like the play below). The question is will they carry that over to Tuesday night’s bigger game against Portland (and how will they do without Arron Afflalo who likely gets suspended for his foul on Trey Burks).
Los Angeles Clippers. They have won seven of eight as well and while the questions about this team as a contender still linger — consistency of defense, play out of the three spot — the Clippers are doing a pretty good job answering them of late. J.J. Redick continued the run of great backcourt play for Los Angles, Blake Griffin put up 23, the Clippers starting lineup was +25 on the night when on the court together, and the Clips continued their run or ridiculously good offense (124.7 points per 100 possessions in this game, which is 10 higher than their already very good average over the last seven games).
Arron Afflalo can expect to get a vacation day courtesy the league for this. (Or at the least he’s writing a big check.)
The Nuggets guard was ejected Monday night for his foul to the head of Utah’s Alec Burks. In the middle of the fourth quarter — when the Jazz had made a comeback from 20 down and made this a game — Utah had a two-on-one in transition and Gordon Hayward hit Burks with a pass, Afflalo came over and tried to make a play on the ball, but he just hit Burks across the head.
That’s an ejection with more punishment to come. Intent doesn’t matter, Afflalo hit an airborne and exposed player. He’s just fortunate Burks wasn’t hurt more seriously.
Maybe this will make Kenneth Faried feel better about his game this season.
Denver picked up another win and got over .500 but in a tight 103-101 game they needed every bucket — and every block. Utah likes to try to throw lobs to 7’2″ Rudy Gobert — because he’s 7’2″ with a freakish wingspan — or at least get him rolling to the rim and they try that here. But Faried is waiting and sends it back.
Then Faried hustles down the court, gets the offensive board and sets up the good-look three. That kind of energy and effort is what Faried brings, that is his value.
Hat tip to Matt Moore of CBSSports’s Eye on Basketball.