Birdman Chris Anderson has been on Tyler Hansbrough’s case through much of the Eastern Conference Finals. His overaggressive behavior in Game 5, however, will cost him the opportunity to play in Game 6 after the NBA suspended the backup center on Friday.
There has been plenty of debate about whether the suspension was warranted, and TNT analyst Steve Kerr chimed in with his own thoughts on the matter:
Let me clarify that I don’t condone the behavior of Andersen. He should have picked up a technical or a flagrant foul for giving Hansbrough the cheap shot before things escalated. Andersen’s shove after the two came face to face warrants a technical foul as well. That said, I am in the minority with Kerr on this one.
Many believe that the decision to suspend Andersen has been made, in part, to correct the mistake of not ejecting him on the spot in the first place by assessing a Flagrant 2 foul. If that’s the case, Andersen should not be suspended. How many times during the regular season did we hear the league admit that the refs screwed up on a call? Bad calls and false no-calls in the final seconds of games have cost plenty of teams a win this season, but at the end of the day, those teams have no choice but to simply live with the results. It’s also true that the league upgrading or rescinding technicals or Flagrant fouls after the game has no effect on what actually happened in that game. So why is it that all of a sudden, they are attempting to bend the effects of what happened in a game that’s already over? There is no sense of consistency on how the league handles these situations.
Upgrade the Flagrant call. Give him a hefty fine for acting in a disorderly conduct. Suspending him for a cheap shot and a shove while two grown men were staring each other down in a tense playoff moment? The overall actions and the results of what he did don’t warrant penalizing the Heat to this extent. This is the postseason, where everything is on the line, and we shouldn’t have to watch a team be limited because of an overreaction by the league.
Everyone wondered why Nazr Mohammed picked up a Flagrant 2 for what he did against LeBron James, but not Andersen for doing something very similar in Game 5. That’s a reasonable argument because there’s a sense of inconsistency from the refs, but now you have to ask why Anderson is getting suspended when Mohammed didn’t suffer any post-game consequences. The difference is that we expect refs to make mistakes in live-game situations. What is the league’s excuse?