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.