The Cleveland Cavaliers got lucky with this one.
J.R. Smith shoved an airborne player — at that point, a defenseless player — and sent Al Horford flying into the stanchion. It was a cheap play that could have led to an injury. Smith got a Flagrant 1 penalty for the incident, but no ejection.
Now, no fine or suspension either, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Marcus Smart came charging in to defend his player, as he should, and got a technical for that. Smith got a technical, too.
If this happened during a regular season game and not the conference finals, would the punishment have been different? The league will deny it, but I think it would be. If Horford had been injured on the exact same play, it would have been — the result shouldn’t matter, it was the action itself, but the league would have gone and eye for an eye. The NBA just doesn’t want key players out for the postseason.