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Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Haslem opens up, NBA shuts him down

By Michael Wallace

Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem was suspended one game by the NBA on Wednesday for his flagrant foul on Indiana forward Tyler Hansbrough midway through Game 5.

Haslem will serve the suspension when the teams meet for Game 6 on Thursday in Indiana, with the Heat holding a 3-2 series lead and looking to close out the Pacers.

Haslem was scheduled to travel with the Heat on Wednesday to Indiana, but will not be allowed to attend the game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse as part of the normal suspension terms. The league also suspended Heat reserve center Dexter Pittman for his lunging elbow that took out Pacers reserve guard Lance Stephenson in the final seconds of Tuesday's game.

Both Haslem and Pittman attended the Heat's practice on Wednesday in Miami, although Pittman was not made available to the media after the workout. Haslem, a Heat co-captain, spoke with reporters after practice but before he learned of the NBA's ruling that was announced early Wednesday evening.

Q: What did you think of the team honoring your nine stitches by handing out promotional bandages to fans in Tuesday's game?
Haslem: It was cool. I'm glad they did it. I don't like being stitched up, but it's part of the process.

Q: Do you have any thoughts on what the league might do to you? Have you been in touch with the New York office?
Haslem: Nah. Nah. Yesterday was yesterday and today is today. I came in and I'm getting prepared for the next game with my team. Like I said, I'm waiting to see. But as far as I'm concerned, I'm going to just get ready for the next game.

Q: We saw you over there talking to Pat Riley after practice. What was his message to you?
Haslem: He just told me that yesterday was yesterday and today is today. He told me to just prepare your mind for the next game.

Q: Does the attention on all the hard fouls and rough play take away from the focus that the Heat have a chance to close out this series with a win in Game 6?
Haslem: Not at all. Not at all. It's the playoffs. So there's always some kind of noise. So we'll just focus on going in there, and it's going to be the most hostile environment we've faced so far. So we'll get mentally prepared to go to war.

Q: Is this series playing right into your comfort zone with all of the physical play, momentum swings and intensity?
Haslem: I'm enjoying the competition. Everybody is competing. Everybody is playing hard. It's playoff basketball. Seeds two and three. Eastern Conference ground and pound matchup. So it's a fun series to be a part of.

Q: Danny Granger reportedly said your foul on Hansbrough was as dangerous as Metta World Peace's elbow to James Harden's head. What are your thoughts on that?
Haslem: I'm not interested in no Danny Granger, man. That's why we've got league officials to look over that stuff and make that decision. I'm sure Danny Granger is going to say what he has to say to help his team. So, whatever. It's unfortunate that he feels that way.

Q: What do you think of Larry Bird calling his own team soft?
Haslem: I don't get into that. That's his opinion of his team. He's entitled to his opinion. We've got a game to play. What they're going through over there is between then and what they have going on over there.

Q: What do you expect from the crowd in Indiana?
Haslem: It's going to be a hostile environment. It's going to be a lot of noise. Very high intensity on both sides. It's going to be a highly competitive game.

Q: The fact that they were called Flagrant-1 fouls on the court and left there, do you think the league should respect the referees' decision without any further action?
Haslem: I hope so. I hope so. There's never been a Flagrant-1 that's gone from a Flagrant-1 to a suspension.

Q: You've done the research on that?
Haslem: Yeah. Something like that. But I would hope so. Like I said, those guys (referees) were right there and they saw it. So we'll see what happens.