INDIANAPOLIS -- The NBA has come down hard on Miami Heat players Udonis Haslem and Dexter Pittman, suspending them for retaliatory flagrant fouls during Game 5 of their playoff series with the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night.
Haslem was suspended by NBA executive vice president Stu Jackson for Thursday's Game 6 and Pittman was suspended for three games. Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough, who also committed a flagrant foul on Heat star Dwyane Wade, had his foul upgraded to a flagrant foul 2 from a flagrant 1, but he avoided suspension.
Haslem hit Hansbrough across the face and shoulder with both arms during the second quarter of the Heat's 115-83 victory, not appearing to make a play on the ball as Hansbrough attempted a shot. It happened less than a minute after Hansbrough had sent Wade to the court after hitting Wade in the face and opening a cut over his eye.
Not having Haslem is a significant blow to the Heat, already without starting big man Chris Bosh. With Pittman also out, the Heat will be down three big men for Game 6 and likely will have to activate little-used reserve Eddy Curry.
Haslem played a big role in the Heat's Game 4 victory in Indiana on Sunday, scoring 14 points off the bench.
The action against Pittman was more clear-cut. He leveled Pacers guard Lance Stephenson with an elbow in the final minute of the game. The play appeared to be premeditated as Pittman ignored the ball and seemed to load up to deliver the blow. Stephenson had X-rays after the game on his collarbone but it was not broken.
Stephenson irritated Heat players last week when he made a choking gesture after LeBron James missed a free throw during Game 3. Heat forward Juwan Howard, who had an on-court confrontation with Stephenson during a game in March as well, had to be separated from Stephenson before Game 4 when he sought him out during pregame warm-ups.
The suspension will cost Haslem roughly $35,000 in salary and Pittman about $22,000.