Somewhere, Rasheed Wallace is smiling.
With 6:57 left in the Cavaliers comeback win against the Knicks Thursday night, Cleveland’s Larry Nance Jr. set a hard pick at the top of the key for Matthew Dellavedova. Too hard. Nance knocked Noah Vonleh to the ground and extended his arms more like a football block than a pick.
That earned him a Flagrant 1 foul. Nance didn’t like the call, and he had a point. The definition of a flagrant 1 foul is “unnecessary” contact, and this was not that. It was a foul, he extended his arms, and Vonleh fell hit the ground, but it was not a high hit to the head, it was not excessive, it wasn’t unsportsmanlike or cheap, it was not unnecessary, it was just a common foul. Even Mike Breen and Walt Frazier on the Knicks broadcast didn’t think it was a flagrant foul.
However, the officials said it was, so Vonleh went to the free throw line — and promptly missed both shots. Which led Nance to yell “ball don’t lie” at the officials.
The Cavaliers beat the Knicks 125-118 behind 25 points and eight rebounds from Kevin Love in a game between two teams in the bottom three in the league (and two of the teams with the best odds in the Zion Williamson sweepstakes… er, NBA lottery coming up in May).