When the NBA’s Last Two Minute report came out on Game 5, it backed the referees who called fouls on the Lakers’ Anthony Davis and Markieff Morris, both of which sent Jimmy Butler to the line in crunch time. (The report did point out a LeBron James foul that was not called, and an Andre Iguodala three seconds that was missed.)
What it did not touch on — because it was not in the last two minutes — has become a rallying cry among Heat fans: Anthony Davis hit Jae Crowder in the face face. The incident happened early in the third quarter when Davis and Crowder got tangled and went to the ground together.
Here is a better look at Anthony Davis hitting Jae Crowder in the face, and shown in comparison to Draymond's suspension-worthy crotch punch in 2016: pic.twitter.com/lYScUROVEY
— Playoff Parakeet A. Cortes (@Ryan_Cortes) October 10, 2020
From that angle, it looks like a flagrant foul.
However, it’s a bit of a camera angle trick.
I’ve been able to view other angles of the incident (which are not public) — particularly the baseline camera angle — and from those angles Davis catches Crowder more in the neck and pushes him, it’s not a punch. It should have been a common foul in my view, but from those angles you could even debate if it’s a foul.
The NBA reviews all footage from every game for this type of incident. Sources told NBC Sports that after the review of all angles, the contact was not considered worthy of a flagrant.
Heat fans’ dream of a suspension was never valid. Comparing it to Draymond Green in 2016 is hard because Green has already accumulated enough technicals through the playoffs that he was at risk of suspension (seven points led to the suspension). There was a pattern. That was not the case with Davis.