Posted May 26, 2013

Heat’s Dwyane Wade avoids suspension for flagrant elbow to Pacers’ Lance Stephenson

2013 NBA playoffs, Ben Golliver, Dwyane Wade, Indiana Pacers, Lance Stephenson, Miami Heat

The NBA has ruled that an elbow delivered by Heat guard Dwyane Wade to the head of Pacers guard Lance Stephenson during Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals was a flagrant play but that it was not worthy of a suspension. Wade will be eligible to play in Game 3 in Indianapolis on Sunday.

Holding an 89-88 lead with a little more than four minutes remaining in the regulation, the Pacers pushed the ball upcourt following a Heat turnover. Wade, who was running back in transition, jumped when he hit the midcourt line, contacting the left side of Stephenson’s head with his left elbow while in midair. The blow sent Stephenson to the ground, but no foul was called and Indiana’s possession continued.

The play was retroactively upgraded to a flagrant foul 1 by the league office, a designation applied to fouls that are “unnecessary.” Indiana went on to win 97-93 on Friday to even the series at one game apiece.

The Sun-Sentinel reported the non-reaction from the Heat following Monday’s shootaround.

Wade declined comment after participating in Sunday morning’s shootaround on the practice court at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, but coach Erik Spoelstra said he did not believe the play merited a suspension, which could have been the case with a retroactive Flagrant 2 ruling.

Back in December, Wade was suspended one game by the NBA for delivering a low blow to Bobcats guard Ramon Sessions. At the time, Wade, who has also been in high-profile incidents with Kobe Bryant and Rajon Rondo, defended himself from accusations that he is a dirty player.

“I’m far from being a dirty player and my intent was never to kick Ramon Sessions,” Wade wrote. “I just reacted to the contact that I got from him. More than anything, I think of my boys watching me before retaliating toward any player. I’m moving forward  and ready to get back on the court in Milwaukee.”

Knicks guard J.R. Smith was ejected and later suspended for one game against the Celtics after elbowing Jason Terry in the head during the first-round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Wade, 31, is averaging 13.7 points, 5.3 assists and 5.0 rebounds during the postseason.

Video via YouTube user OUOutreach | Hat tip: CBSSports.com

34 comments
MATTHEW5
MATTHEW5

This is the reason I finally quit watching the NBA.

Xoron
Xoron

This is NBA making sure Miami has every chance to make the finals. You can not tell from the video if it was intentional or not...period. In this case, because of the nature of the contact to the head, you send a clear message to players by suspending. If it was Stephenson landing an elbow to Wade's head, he'd out...period. Shameful decision.

KimMathenge
KimMathenge

were it any other team they would be

JoeNash
JoeNash

And how about Wade flopping out of bounds in yesterday's game?

Daniel49
Daniel49

The NBA has a product and they will do what they need to do to protect it.  How in the absolute world is that not intentional????   You don't accidentally elbow someone to the head!!  And I agree with star calls.  Roles reversed Stephenson gets ejected and suspended one game.  And I think Reggie Miller and Marv Albert are towing the company line.  And I really like Reggie Miller as an analyst.  But both of them coward to the NBA.  I may not always agree with Barkley on things outside the NBA, but the man will call a spade a spade and he knows the game.  I think Wade saw he had an opportunity to get away with one and he took it.

DougHendrickson
DougHendrickson

At least we're pretty much all in agreement that this is freaking ridiculous...  Does anyone really believe, for even a moment, that if the roles were reversed, and Stephenson had tried for the UFC style flying elbow, he wouldn't be riding pine for at least one game?

No?  Didn't think so.  Congratulations to the NBA for making your stance on your stars blatantly obvious.

Sportsfan18
Sportsfan18

It's my opinion that when two people are about to run into each other, or one into another on a basketball court (not the NFL), they put their hands up to the persons chest, arms, shoulders, back etc... depending on the angle they are bumping into them...  I've rarely seen one raise only one elbow up and coincidentally it was the one on the side of his body that was by this man's head...  He obviously meant to do it and the NBA obviously meant to look the other way...

!Wadeisjuicing
!Wadeisjuicing

The problem is that the league thinks they can get away with playing favorites and selectively enforcing the rules because we little people can't do anything about it.  That's their mentality.

Justdoit777
Justdoit777

The Pacers should have stayed on the sideline and refused to continue playing the game when no foul was called on Wade.  If the Heat don't have to play by the same rules, then we won't play.  LOVE to see the panicked look on Stern's face what that happens.

Brian85
Brian85

This is obviously NOT fair, just because Wade is a star, so he can enjoy different set of rules?????

??
??

Yes different rules always apply to the elite players like Wade and James. He should have been suspended but they will never suspend him, no matter what he does.

RobertJacke
RobertJacke

Different rules for the Miami Heat then the rest of the NBA

Roderick2
Roderick2

A lot of us are still scratching our heads trying to reason why Dwayne Wade, with his DIRTY tactics and "thug" mentality, was not suspended for the "non-basketball" play - an INTENTIONAL flying elbow to the head of Lance Stephenson of the Indiana Pacers.  Is it because a fair and justified penalty for such an egregious and cowardly act might hinder the Heat from subduing the underdog Pacers?  Or, is it because this was Wade's first offense?.....Oh, wait, that wasn't just his first! - - or second! -- or third!  I wonder if Metta World Peace would get the same consideration?....just saying.  Or do you think if that elbow had pasted Lebron's (or Wade's) head the perpetrator would have been given a pass?  Come on, Stu, next time be a MAN and do the right thing. (Maybe you'll get just a reprimand.)

humburger
humburger

This fits Wade's M.O. exactly. He gets a little frustrated after a turnover or little contact and lashes out by kicking (Sessions), body checking (Collison), tackling (Rondo), elbowing (Stephenson). It was obviously intentional--you don't stick your elbow up and into a person's head when running by them--and 99% of the players in the league would have gotten a suspension for that. Just ask JR Smith; his elbow was no worse. 

SteveCowan
SteveCowan

Barkley was right!  The league IS hungry to have Miami in the finals, no matter what.... and the referees & league officials will influence the outcome as much as they can.  If any player from Indiana (or any non-MIAMI team) had done this elbow throw, they'd be out for a game or two, maybe the season if they hit LBJ!

TheFixizN
TheFixizN

David Stern needs to step down.  He encourages favoritism and couldn't care less for fair play.  Greed has corrupted him.  Let someone with integrity take over and restore respectability to the league.

jimtheatre
jimtheatre

how sad that basketball has become a sport of allowing a player like Wade to continue his cheap shots..Look at the all star game with Kobe and many other games that they have allowed a street thug with money to play a sport...Yes it gets tuff and things happen but until someone really gets hurt is that when wade finally pays for his ugly and soiled brat additude...I am watching the game less and at least in the NFL it does not matter who you are your will be fined for a cheap shot to the head....

KeithKoloff
KeithKoloff

f Wade or Lebron had got elbowed , none of you would be crying for the opposing player to get suspended. So adjust your maxi pads  and shut up. Its basketball, it happens

Jerry11
Jerry11

Dwayne Wade continues to prove what a joke he is.  And this is one of the poster boys for the WWE . . . I mean NBA!!

HOOSIER DADDY
HOOSIER DADDY

OK, now stephenson should land one on the head of Wade. See what happens to him.

doublejtrain68
doublejtrain68

No way! I love D-Wade as a player, but that should have been a suspension. He could have easily avoided that. I hate to say this about D-Wade, but it's obvious even to a blind man that Stern is protecting the superstars for TV ratings. 

Bad1v
Bad1v

Straight B/S he should have been suspended for one game.  I guess the fix is in for Miami to win. 

KenKing
KenKing

Just so that I am clear here:


JR Smith tries  - unsuccessfully - to purposefully hit Jason Terry in the head, and gets a one game suspension.


Dwyane Wade purposefully - and successfully  - hits Stephenson in the head, and he does not get suspended.


Please please please get me some of the stuff Stu Jackson is smoking.

BrianScottBailey
BrianScottBailey

@!Wadeisjuicing Been saying that for years. You can see it. If someone other than Wade or Lebron did that foul in this series they would have been suspended.

doublejtrain68
doublejtrain68

@TheFixizN Amen brother! It is very clear that Stern protects the stars at all costs, and has been for years. He can deny it all he wants, but anyone and everyone can see it. I will be so glad when this man is gone. 

Daniel49
Daniel49

@TheFixizN Well thankfully he has agreed to step down in 2014.  Does anyone else see something wrong with him being the Commissioner of the NBA since Ronald Reagan was in office? The Berlin Wall fell?  2 Gulf Wars?  The New Millennnium?  The birth of the internet?  From long distance, to fax, to e-mail, to common place cell phones, to instant messaging, to texting, to dial up, to DSL, to fiber optics, to wireless?  Please feel free to add anything.  

humburger
humburger

@KeithKoloff Nah it doesn't really just happen unless you try to do it. And if Wade or LeBron would have been on the receiving end you can bet their maxi pads would have been in a twist and the offender would have undoubtedly been suspended.

Bad1v
Bad1v

@KeithKoloff Are you a mind reader or do you just like to see your name on the internet?  A dirty play calls for a suspension no matter who commits it.  So take your childish comments and try and grow up.

KeithKoloff
KeithKoloff

and calling him names behind the keyboard makes you one.

KeithKoloff
KeithKoloff

@KenKing . Its called special treatment, It has a long history in this country. It is the American way. 

Bad1v
Bad1v

@KeithKoloffThat coming from the so called man who told other readers to "So adjust your maxi pads  and shut up."  I guess it took a lot offer bravery to write that childish comment?