On Saturday morning, an enterprising Miami Heat fan decided to try and get Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis suspended — or at least assessed a retroactive flagrant foul — for appearing to hit Jae Crowder in the face/neck area with his forearm during Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
The short clip they edited was all over Twitter, with plenty of people saying Davis should be suspended for Game 6.
However, according to Kurt Helin of NBC Sports, the league has looked at the play in question, and decided it did not warrant any retroactive punishment:
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.
We obviously can’t see what Helin got to look at, but when looking at other angles that are less selectively edited and are public, the play doesn’t look quite as bad, especially given that Crowder barely reacts:
A couple more angles of the AD-Crowder play in question from last night's 3rd Q: pic.twitter.com/X1wcCJoN6F— Couper Moorhead (@CoupNBA) October 10, 2020
This is good news for the Lakers, because Davis previously received a retroactive Flagrant 1 in the Western Conference Semifinals for hitting Houston Rockets forward Jeff Green in the torso/waist area. That gave him one flagrant point for the playoffs, and he could have ended up with two or three by the end of the day had the NBA assessed him one here. That could have mattered, because with enough flagrant fouls in the playoffs, a player can get suspended:
A Flagrant 1 is worth one point and a Flagrant 2 is worth two. If a player with three points, like Embiid, picks up a Flagrant 1, they’re suspended for one game. If they pick up a Flagrant 2, it’s two games. If you reach five points, any flagrant foul thereafter is an automatic two-game suspension.
A call here would have put Davis right up against the limit, so the Lakers are fortunate that his status moving forward won’t be in jeopardy due to two retroactive calls. And given that this is a series that has featured a lot of instances of similar contact from the Heat — from Jae Crowder pulling on LeBron’s arm the same way teammate Kelly Olynyk dislocated Kevin Love’s shoulder a few years ago in Game 1, to Jimmy Butler knocking Alex Caruso into Davis’ leg — the league was probably well within their rights to not punish Davis for something similarly borderline.
With no discipline, Davis will now get to continue the NBA Finals in Game 6 on Sunday, despite the best efforts of Heat fans trying to help their favorite team out.