How much of a stickler is new NBA commissioner Adam Silver for the rules? We're about to find out.
With 19 seconds remaining in the first half of the Pacers' 95-88 win over the Hawks in Game 6 on Thursday, Indiana guard George Hill and Atlanta forward Mike Scott got into an altercation under the hoop and in front of the Pacers' bench. Both players received technical fouls for their face-to-face exchange, but the skirmish was quickly broken up by teammates, Pacers coach Frank Vogel and referees.
So what's the controversy? As so many things have in the 2014 NBA playoffs, it comes down to the tape.
Further review of the Hill-Scott altercation reveals that Pacers forward Paul George got up off the bench and stepped slightly forward during the clash. George didn't come anywhere close to the dustup -- Pacers assistant Popeye Jones held him and reserve guard Rasual Butler back -- but that might not be enough to keep him available for Game 7 if the NBA chooses to strictly enforce one of its rules.
According to NBA rules: "During an altercation, all players not participating in the game must remain in the immediate vicinity of their bench. Violators will be suspended, without pay, for a minimum of one game and fined up to $50,000."
George could definitely be described as being in the "immediate vicinity" of the Pacers' bench, but we've seen the NBA follow the letter of the law before.
Silver and Rod Thorn, the NBA's head of discipline, have yet to weigh in on George and the Hill-Scott skirmish. Stu Jackson, Thorn's predecessor, addressed the matter on Twitter late Thursday night:
UPDATE: Neither George nor Butler was suspended, the NBA said Friday. Scott, who shoved Hill in the face, was also cleared for Game 7.
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