The NBA has fined LeBron James, David West and Lance Stephenson $5,000 each for flopping in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.
They are the latest players fined under the league’s stiffer postseason policy, which eliminated the free warning given during the regular season and assesses escalating fines for each subsequent offense. During the regular season, 19 players were warned for flopping and five of those received fines for a second offense. Knicks guard J.R. Smith, Pacers forward Jeff Pendergraph, Thunder guard Derek Fisher and Grizzlies guard Tony Allen have also been fined during the postseason.
The James-West flop occurred with 4:16 remaining in the third quarter of the Pacers' Game 4 victory. With the ball above the three-point line, James attempted to front West in the post. The two engaged and then simultaneously went to the floor, exaggerating the contact. It's likely the first double-flop in NBA history. James would foul out in the fourth quarter, just the fifth time he's fouled out of a game in his 10-year NBA career. This marked the Heat's first flopping violation of 2012-13.
On Monday, James said he sees the value in flopping. "Any way you can get an advantage over the opponent to help your team win, so be it," he told reporters. The 2012-13 regular-season MVP had not received a warning or fine during the regular season under the NBA’s anti-flopping policy, and he spoke out against flopping during the conference semis. “I don’t need to flop,” he said. “I play an aggressive game. I don’t flop. I’ve never been one of those guys.”
Stephenson's flop came with 05.2 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Following a basket from Stephenson that put the Pacers up 26-22, the Pacers guard threw his head back as if he had received an elbow from Heat guard Ray Allen. Replays showed Allen didn't touch Stephenson. The full video below.
All three players will now be subject to the postseason fine scale for flopping.
Violation 1: $5,000 fine
Violation 2: $10,000 fine
Violation 3: $15,000 fine
Violation 4: $30,000 fine
If a player violates the anti-flopping rule five times or more, he will be subject to discipline that is reasonable under the circumstances, including an increased fine and/or suspension.