The NBA announced Tuesday that Nets forward Paul Pierce has been fined $15,000 for "making excessive and unnecessary contact" when he clotheslined Pacers guard George Hill during Brooklyn's 103-86 home loss to Indiana on Monday.
Pierce was assessed a Flagrant Foul 2 and ejected by the game officials for the play. With a little more than four minutes remaining in the third quarter and the Pacers leading 66-47, Hill stepped in to steal a Joe Johnson pass and took off for the races. Pierce tried to prevent the transition opportunity by reaching across Hills body's with his left arm, and he contacted Hill in the neck and face as he swiped at the ball. At no time during the play did Pierce come close to getting the ball, and the force of his clothesline spun Hill hard to the ground and caused his head to whiplash backwards.
Even if Pierce wasn't headhunting, it was a dangerous play, and it fit the NBA's criteria for a Flagrant Foul 2, a designation given when contact is deemed "unnecessary and excessive" by the officials. The ejection in these situations is automatic. The Point Forward noted Monday that a further sanction was a possibility, given the force of the blow and the fact that Pierce made contact with Hill's head.
Pierce departed with zero points (on 0-for-7 shooting) and two rebounds in 15 minutes of action, marking his first scoreless game since March 9, 1999. The New York Daily News reports that Pierce did not answer questions from the media after the game.
Indiana improved to 23-5 with the win thanks to Paul George, who finished with 26 points (on 10-for-19 shooting), six rebounds and five assists. Lance Stephenson also scored 26 points (on 10-for-16 shooting) while tallying seven rebounds and five assists.
Johnson led the Nets with 17 points (on 7-for-13 shooting), three assists and two rebounds. Kevin Garnett added 12 points (on 3-for-10 shooting) and five rebounds in the loss. Brooklyn dropped to 9-18 with the loss. Brooklyn will host Chicago during the opening game of Wednesday's Christmas Day quintuple-header.