The NBA has fined Lebron James and two others $5000 for flopping during game four in Indiana. The fines come in the first game following James made comments that he doesn’t flop, although he sees value to the strategy. Two Pacers were also fined, David West and Lance Stephenson. Fines were dolled out as a result of the NBA’s anti-flopping policy. The Pacers won the game 99-92 and evened the series as a result.
Implemented at the start of the season, the league’s anti-flopping policy was designed to prevent players from exaggerating contact in an attempt to draw a cheap foul. The rule had relatively little impact on the regular season, as only 24 violations were noted. The penalty was small as well, with a first violation garnering only a warning during the regular season. This was changed in the post season however, and the first offense penalty became $5000, increasing in $5000 increments for each subsequent violation.
The flopping penalties of David West and Lebron James were handed out for flops that took place during the same play in the fourth quarter of game four. Lance Stephenson was fined for a first quarter incident where he exaggerated contact in order to draw a foul against Ray Allen.
Being fined only puts salt in the wound of Lebron James for what was a forgettable night for the MVP. James was assessed six fouls and had to leave the game as a result, including a technical. Unusual as it is for him to get in foul trouble, he is being consistently pressured by the Pacers and will have to be careful to avoid more foul trouble in the remainder of the series.
David West was assessed a flagrant foul after the game to go along with his fine for flopping. His foul was upgraded to flagrant following review, the foul against Dwayne Wade in the fourth quarter was deemed excessive. It was the third time in the series that a call had been changed to flagrant following the conclusion of the game.
There is irony in the fact Lebron James and two others were fined for flopping in game four. James made comments on Monday claiming that he didn’t flop. He also gave the following statement in which he admitted there was value to the strategy. “Some guys have been doing it for years, just trying to get an advantage. Any way you can get an advantage over the opponent to help your team win, so be it.”
This series has been full of hard nose defense and contact, so the flopping probably hasn’t been necessary in getting people into foul trouble. However with the fine being as slim as it is, players aren’t likely to stop utilizing the strategy as a result of today’s fines. Lebron James, and the other two men who were fined for flopping likely won’t worry about that moving forward, the fine is only $10,000 if they get caught again. Rather the focus on the series will be staying out of foul trouble and shutting down the other team’s stars, if they have to flop to make that happen, then we haven’t seen the last of the flopping fines for this series.
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The Guardian Express