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Pistons' Villanueva ejected for flagrant foul on Kings' Thomas

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By Ben Golliver

Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva was ejected after delivering a hard elbow to Kings guard Isaiah Thomas during the second quarter of a game at the Palace of Auburn Hills on Tuesday night.

With a little less than four seconds remaining in the second quarter and the Pistons leading 58-46, Thomas attacked the paint, where Villanueva was waiting to deliver a right elbow. Villanueva's blow appeared to hit Thomas's left arm and was delivered in an upward manner in the general direction of Thomas' head; the force of the hit sent Thomas crashing to the court. Thomas immediately took exception, hopping up off the floor to confront Villanueva, who shoved him away. Villanueva was assessed a flagrant foul 2, a designation that applies for fouls the referees deem are "unnecessary and excessive" and which requires an automatic ejection.

Like all flagrant fouls, Villanueva's will be reviewed by the NBA league office, which has the authority to tack on an additional suspension or fine. In this case, it seems unlikely that there will be any additional punishment forthcoming because Villanueva didn't appear to cleanly and directly strike Thomas in the head or neck, Thomas was able to continue playing, and the foul did not lead to any serious pushing or shoving afterwards.

The Pistons went on to win the game 103-97. Villanueva departed with nine points, one rebound, one assist, one steal and one block in 11 minutes. Thomas finished with 12 points, two rebounds, two assists and one steals in 26 minutes.

Last week, Lakers center Dwight Howard was called for a flagrant foul 2 after hitting Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried in the face. He was later assessed a $35,000 fine for the hit but he was not suspended.

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