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Guards J.J. Barea of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Donald Sloan of the Cleveland Cavaliers are the first players who have been identified as floppers under the NBA's new anti-flopping rule.
Both offending plays occurred in the fourth quarters of games last Friday.
Barea was playing defense with 10:04 left in a game the Timberwolves would win, and took an off-hand to the face from the Kings' Jimmer Fredette. Barea threw his arms up dramatically, and to great effect; he fooled the referee into a call he would not have been likely to get otherwise.
Punishing players for attempting to fool referees was the major rationale of the new program. Newly instituted for the 2012-2013 season, the rule calls for video review of every NBA game.
"I've said it before, I think it's something that they can certainly look at, but I don't know how anybody thousands of miles away on TV can tell if somebody gets hit or not hit," said Wolves coach Rick Adelman. " I think anybody here, if somebody does that to you, you're gonna flinch ... and he got hit.
"The play that they're talking about, the guy hit him in the face and he got called for a foul. I don't understand how he could get a warning foul. It sounds like maybe they're trying to use his reputation, but I just think it seems like our officials are supposed to be the best in the world, and they're very good officials, and they should be able to tell if somebody gets hit or he's faking it."
In a game the Cavaliers were losing badly, Sloan got caught up trying to defend in the open court, tangled legs with Bulls big man Nazr Mohammed, and whirled to the floor, arms up, in dramatic fashion.
Players found to have egregiously attempted to fool the referee are punished. A first offense calls for a warning. The second offense comes with a $5,000 fine, followed by $10,000 for a third, $15,000 for a fourth and $30,000 for a fifth. Additional flops after that could lead to a suspension.
The fines are so steep that the National Basketball Players Association lawyers have lodged legal complaints.
Information from Mike Mazzeo, a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com, and The Associated Press was used in this report.