That just-ended Bulls/Pacers series was quite the rough-and-tumble tussle, wasn’t it? Four close games, two point guards with sprained ankles, a handful of flagrant fouls and last night — thanks to Joakim Noah — an ejection for Pacers big man Josh McRoberts. It was a very fun series, but that “thanks to Joakim Noah” part has at least one Pacer all riled up.
You see, Danny Granger was a little upset the way Joakim Noah irritated McRoberts to the point of ejection and even more so when he did the same thing to Tyler Hansbrough, who got away with just a technical. What was Noah doing exactly? Just being Joakim Noah, basically. And that’s enough to draw Granger’s ire, so much so that the Pacers star tried to get in Noah’s face after the final buzzer, only to be thwarted by Tom Thibodeau.
Afterward, he was still pretty upset. From the Daily Herald:
“Joakim Noah, he’s a dirty player,” Granger said. “Honestly. He elbowed two of my power forwards. One got kicked out. The other got a tech and nothing’s called on him.
“I don’t think there’s a place in the game for it. You can make hard fouls and everything, but when you start elbowing people in the face, that’s when fights start breaking out.”
And from ESPN:
“He pulled a cowardly move,” Granger said. “He cheap-shotted a couple of my teammates, and one gets thrown out …
“The refs never catch what he did … it’s cowardly. And I’m going to say something about it. I wanted to say something about it all the way to the game was over. I just don’t think the game should be played that way. You can play hard and fight and battle, but when you start cheap-shotting people it gets out of hand.”
OK, fair enough, Danny Granger. This is America and the Bill of Rights protects your freedom of speech, so you are more than entitled to your opinion. On the other hand, c’mon son.
Complaining about elbows to the face and cheap shots after Josh McRoberts and Jeff Foster did the same thing? That’s just silly. It’d be like if the Heat complained about some team throwing a championship celebration before the season started, or Vin Diesel complaining that someone keeps making the same movie over and over. I don’t want to say it’s hypocritical, but there’s not really a better word for it.
Not to mention, it’s the playoffs. Hard fouls happen, tempers flare and things get rougher. The idea of “manning up” and having to take hard fouls is pretty stupid, but it’s also a well-established tradition in the NBA. Once the playoff starts, people start getting hit in the face, which is why the flagrant foul was invented — to keep things from getting too 1989 Pistons. For a guy who plays on a team with a coach who called Jeff Foster’s flagrants “good, clean playoff fouls” to complain about cheap shots is a big disingenuous.
Plus, neither McRoberts nor Hansbrough are complaining, with McRoberts even going so far as to say, “I’m not going to say it’s dirty. That’s Game 5 of a playoff series. You can’t say it’s dirty, it’s part of basketball.” When a guy’s teammates disagree with him, that’s saying something.
Oh, and the “nothing’s called on him” part isn’t even true. Noah got a T for his mixup with Hansbrough. Wrong again, Danny Granger.