Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra drew attention Thursday to the number of shots to the head he says his players have taken from the Indiana Pacers this season, reports the South Florida Sun Sentinel's Ira Winderman.
In particular, he seemed irritated that officials have ignored hard fouls against Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.
"The league does not have a problem with hard fouls on our two main guys. In nine games now, there's been over a dozen hard fouls to the face, some of the tomahawk variety," he said of his team's regular-season and postseason games against the Pacers. "Some of them have drawn blood."
The comments come in the aftermath of a physical Game 5. Indiana's Tyler Hansbrough drew a flagrant foul for a hard hit on Wade. Less than a minute later, Heat forward Udonis Haslem committed a flagrant against Hansbrough.
James blamed the escalation on the referees not ejecting Hansbrough. "I mean Hansbrough, it's not the first time that he went after one of our players this year," James said. He added. "He definitely wasn't going for the ball. All you've got to do is look at the play and see exactly where he was headed for. He walked right away. He knew exactly what he had done."
Later in the game, Miami's Dexter Pittman leveled Lance Stephenson with a forearm to the chin. Stephenson had drawn attention for making a "choke" sign after LeBron James missed a free throw in Game 3. Haslem was suspended for one game, and Pittman was suspended for three.