In game 2 of the Eastern Conference NBA Finals, Dwight Howard did this to Paul Pierce.
I'm not concerned about the well being of Paul Pierce, he stayed in and played one of his best games of the post season this year (28 Pts., 5 Reb., 5 Asst.). The NBA rule on flagrant fouls states:
a. If contact committed against a player, with or without the ball, is interpreted to be unnecessary, a flagrant foul--penalty (1) will be assessed. A personal foul is charged to the offender and a team foul is charged to the team.
PENALTY: (1) Two free throws shall be attempted and the ball awarded to the offended team on either side of the court at the free throw line extended. (2) If the offended player is injured and unable to attempt his free throws, the opposing coach will select any player from the bench to attempt the free throws. (3) This substitute may not be replaced until the ball is legally touched by a player on the court. (EXCEPTION: Rule 3--Section V--e.) (4) The injured player may not return to the game. (5) A player will be ejected if he commits two flagrant fouls in the same game.
I completely understand that the rule states that a player must commit two flagrant fouls in one game in order to be ejected, but looking at that video, why was he not charged with a flagrant II as opposed to a flagrant I. The nature of the game allows for hard fouls, which is exactly what Dwight did when he nailed Pierce in the head with his elbow. The fact that Howard then continued to follow through with his arm and push Pierce to the ground by his face shows that he had more intent to intentionally hurt Pierce and take him out of the game.
Shippin' Up To Boston
Regardless of the lack of an ejection in game 2, the Celtics won the game and jumped out to a 2-0 series lead as we come back to Boston to close it out as Paul Pierce so elegantly stated in a post game interview, followed by a wink to the fans that won't let the Celtics get comfortable. Pierce had a lot to say after the game with a stretch of confidence exiting the arena, telling the Magic fans, "we'll see you next year".
With the massive leads we've had in both games 1 and 2 only to give them up and win by a bucket, I hope that Pierce's confidence is carried by everyone else in the locker room as we attempt to take the next to games into the finals against the winner of the Lakers/Suns series. Hopefully the Garden will be enough to put the Magic out this time.
Thanks to Keith Allison for the photo of Paul Pierce.