BOSTON -- Welcome back to 1980s basketball. The Hawks and Boston Celtics went a bit old school in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series Friday night. Bodies hit the floor. There were double-technical fouls and flagrant fouls and reviews of several other calls. In the end, the Hawks overcame a 19-point second-half deficit to take a lead, only to fade and lose 111-103. Here's a link to the game column.
Now, what follows is NOT the reason the Hawks lost, trimming their series lead to 2-1. Isaiah Thomas going off for a career-high 42 points had more to do with that. But the story line from now until Game 4 on Sunday will be the potential fallout from a first-quarter incident when Thomas swung his arm around and slapped Hawks guard Dennis Schroder in the face. Thomas wasn't called for a foul, but the two players had to be separated later in the quarter and were called fro technicals.
Here's the play:
Schroder was upset after the game and said he complained to official Zach Zarba, telling the Journal-Constitution: "I’m not going to let nobody slap me in my face. I told him that. If you want to play like that, we’ll play like that. I was mad."
When asked if Zarba said anything in response, Schroder said, "He apologized at halftime. He said he didn’t see it. But it’s too late then."
Schroder also Tweeted a screen shot of Thomas hitting him with the comment: "Wow. They're calling a flagrant foul on me! Where I try to protect myself!!! But Isaiah Thomas can hit me in my face."
He quickly deleted the Tweet but it lives in screen grabs:
Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said he expects the NBA to review the play. The question is whether the league believes the incident rises to the level of a "flagrant 1" foul (which would not lead to a suspension) or a "flagrant 2" (which could).
Former NBA vice president Stu Jackson, whose former job entailed disciplining players, believes a suspension is coming:
When asked about the NBA's possible review of the play, Thomas said he was not concerned, denied he hit Schroder intentionally, then started to go in the other direction with his comments.
Quote: "I didn’t mean to hit him. He got mad and he was talking. But it’s playoff basketball. That’s what it’s about. I’m not going to back down from anybody and he knows that."
Hawks center Al Horford was asked about the incident and, referencing the officials, saying, "I feel like they look the other way on that kind of stuff. Those kind of issues need to be addressed in-game. I mean after the game, it’s too late."
When told the official said he didn't see the play, Horford responded, "Of course."
Hawks guard Kyle Korver said, "I know Bud read us a really long (league) memo before the playoffs started about what would happen if we threw a punch. So I guess we’ll see what happens."
So my guess is one of two things are going to happen now: Either Thomas gets suspended -- which would amount to the league taking Boston's best player off the court -- or this series is about to get get a whole lot more physical.
There's nothing wrong with that. At least now the Hawks realize they're in a series.
Recent ramblings from the Digital Jukebox
- Hawks not making it easy on themselves
- Hawks will try to buck history in Game 3 against Boston
- Bigger surprise than Braves' record: Freeman hitting .163
- Liberty CEO's comments reaffirm: Braves need new ownership
- Matt Ryan says he's confident in Kyle Shanahan, Falcons' offense
- Only one side of Olivera-Wood trade is around for Braves-Dodgers series
- Jacob Eason good but 93,000 is real highlight of Georgia's spring
- Hawks go into playoffs knowing changes to core may be ahead
- Braves (0-8) vs. Twins (0-8): Your 2017 World Series may be on deck
- Braves' 0-7 season takes an even uglier turn with Olivera arrest
- Manziel, Gordon should be viewed as sad stories, not punchlines
- Criticism of Georgia Tech's Pastner seems over the top
- Braves (0-5) are a minor league product in a major league season
- 'Religious liberty' bill turned into an Alabama-Vanderbilt game
- Tim Hardaway, Jr. impressing critics, Hawks and his father
- OK, Mike Bobinski, let's see what you've got
- (Early) Nothing Gregory did this season was going to save his job
- Kirby Smart is wrong ... but then so is everybody else on transfers
- Ranking Atlanta's top coaches, from Budenholzer to... um...
- Sticky ball? NBA looks like bigger goofball than Dwight Howard
- Where sports and politics collide, Georgia loses
- Georgia legislators step in it, could lose Super Bowl, other events
- Brian Gregory fighting 'disappointment' of uncertain future
- Keith Marshall had fast combine time but is he NFL running back?
- Taking a Digi-Blog stroll through Georgia's spring practice
- Kirby Smart's fingerprints are all over changes at Georgia