The NBA doesn't take kindly to any deliberate hit that connects with a player's head or neck, particularly those made in retaliation. With that, it's comes as no surprise that NBA announced a one-game suspension for Mavericks guard Vince Carter, issued for Carter throwing an elbow and making contact with the head of Thunder center Steven Adams on Wednesday.
The incident in question occurred with roughly four minutes remaining in the third quarter. Carter was defending Adams, who held the ball in the low post, and took an elbow to the jaw from Adams as the Thunder big man looked to create space to make a pass. Carter was not pleased, and after recovering, hit Adams with an elbow upside the head as both tussled for rebounding position. The intent was clear and the hit had no basketball-related motivation. After video review, Carter was levied a flagrant foul 2 and ejected from the game.
Carter was apologetic immediately after the game, and seemed resigned to the fact that he would likely face a suspension. From Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News:
“I just want to apologize to the fans of both sides,” he said. “There’s no need for it. They’re trying to clean up the game and make it fun for fans to watch. It was one of those things where I got caught in the moment and reacted to a reaction that was done to you. My intentions have never been that way. It’s just one of those things.”Video: Eye on Basketball
Asked if he thought the league would suspend him, Carter said: “It is what it is. There’s nothing you can do. I hurt my team giving up free throws and points, so, I just have to deal with the consequences and move forward. It happened. Sometimes when you do something like that, you wish you could take it back. It was a physical game. We have a lot of history. All of them have been chippy and edgy.”