The NBA league office got these right.
Boston’s Marcus Smart has been fined for his comical flop Friday night in Game 3 against Atlanta. However, Isaiah Thomas avoided suspension and was given just a technical for his blow to the head of the Hawks Dennis Schroder.
First the flop (which you can see above) — that’s about as fine worthy as a flop can get. Atlanta’s Kyle Korver boxed out on Smart (who has a reputation for flopping) and the Celtics’ guard acted like he was shot out of a cannon. Smart was given a $5,000 flopping fine by the league, the first such fine of these playoffs.
The questions about the Celtics’ Thomas were tied to this play.
Was that a punch to the head, which would warrant a one-game suspension?
The league said no, that it did not rise to the level of a flagrant II foul (unnecessary and excessive) and instead gave him a flagrant I foul (unnecessary contact) for the blow.
That’s the right call by the league office. The officials in that game were handing out flagrants like they were candy on Halloween, but for some fouls that didn’t deserve it. This is the playoffs, things are going to get chippy and physical. Let them, to a degree.