Friday, June 12, 2009
Pietrus awaits review of foul on Gasol
By Marc Stein ESPN.com
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Mickael Pietrus' two-handed shove into Pau Gasol's back in the final seconds of Game 4 was the first flagrant foul of the NBA Finals and will automatically be reviewed Friday by the league office.
League rules mandate that all flagrants are subjected to a next-day video review for possible fine, suspension or reclassification, which could result in the foul being upgraded or downgraded.
Anything more severe than a fine in this case is believed to be unlikely, but players and coaches have grown accustomed this postseason to waiting for the outcome of the review. Entering the Finals, 14 flagrant fouls in these playoffs had either been upgraded, downgraded or assessed retroactively on fouls that weren't ruled flagrant during the game via the review process.
On the play in question, Pietrus chopped down hard into Gasol's back with both arms as the Spaniard was throwing down his second straight dunk in the final minute of overtime to seal the Los Angeles Lakers' 99-91 victory, good for a 3-1 series lead.
Gasol reacted angrily to the hit after briefly hanging on the rim and quickly confronted Pietrus, with each player getting hit with a technical foul after they were separated.
"I wasn't trying to hurt him or anything like that," said Pietrus, whose fists were clenched as he swiped at Gasol with 3.4 seconds remaining. "Hopefully they're going to let us compete. I've been in the NBA six years and I never had any hard foul fouls, I never had any hard feelings about any players. It just happened."
The foul, ruled a Flagrant Foul Penalty 1, was Pietrus' first flagrant of the postseason. It was also the first technical foul of the postseason for either player, after Gasol's technical against Denver on May 21 in the Western Conference finals was rescinded.
Marc Stein is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com.