It was 127 to 108 with four seconds remaining last night when Dario Saric drove to the rim for a layup attempt.
He was cut off and blocked by Kelly Olynyk, a hard downward slap but nothing truly malicious, as the Heat center/power foward looked to keep the homie from extending a 19-point lead with an easy garbage time bucket.
The play began with a defensive rebound and quick transition up the court. The Sixers could have easily just walked it up and run out the clock, but they did this instead:
Asshole play? Or totally fair?
You see a bit of a stare from Olynyk. He’s not giving that up at the end of the game, and I don’t blame him.
Whatever your opinion of that sequence, it’s a direct response from the Sixers to what Goran Dragic did in game two, when Miami was winning by eight with six seconds to play and he went the length of the court for an uncontested layup:
You see the bench reactions from Joel Embiid, T.J. McConnell, and Justin Anderson. Brett Brown even looked a little annoyed and threw that dismissive “whatever” kind of gesture before walking down the tunnel. Marco Belinelli had a few words for Dragic as he jogged back down the floor.
Multiple players were asked about those sequences after game three.
“I think they felt disrespected by Goran’s [layup], and we weren’t just going to let them do that,” Miami’s Justise Winslow said.
“I wish I was there in that Game 2, because I was kind of pissed about it. … I was on the sideline, really mad,” said Embiid, who missed the first two games of the series because of an orbital fracture and concussion.
Embiid said he felt that Dragic didn’t receive the same negative reaction that Saric encountered March 1, when he converted a dunk at the end of a blowout win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. In that game, Cavs guard Jordan Clarkson threw a ball at Saric’s back after the dunk and was summarily ejected.
You remember that one, right?
It was the regular season victory in Cleveland, when Dario went up for a dunk when the game was out of reach:
Embiid probably tried to explain the unwritten rules of the NBA and why that stuff is frowned upon. Brown said he talked to Saric about the incident but didn’t really seem to care one way or another.
Brett called the whole thing “overblown” back then:
— Marc Narducci (@sjnard) March 2, 2018
I agree with him; it was overblown back then and it’s overblown now, and I appreciate that Kelly Olynyk wasn’t going to led Saric cruise in there for an easy basket. Maybe the Sixers should have done that when Dragic added two more points at the end of game two.
And there’s nothing wrong with this Dragic quote, also from the ESPN story:
On Wednesday, Dragic brushed off the idea that any of the Sixers were offended by his layup near the end of Game 2.
“I don’t care. The first game we were down 30, and they were still running inbounds plays after timeouts with seven seconds left in the game,” he said. “It’s the playoffs. I’m doing everything it takes.”
“It’s the playoffs.”
Games are chippy. Guys jaw at each other. There’s a lot of petty shit out there. This is the National Basketball Association; it ain’t intramurals, as the great Dan Hawkins once said.
And, more to the point, this is a thing that’s embedded in the DNA of some of the European guys. In Euro ball, total points scored is actually a tiebreaker in most of their leagues, so I think Saric and Dragic are probably just conditioned to play this way. Saric has more of a claim to ignorance of the NBA code, since he’s been over here for two years compared to the 10 seasons Dragic has played.
At the end of the day, if you don’t want some guy dunking on you in garbage time while up 19 points, do a better job in the other 47 minutes of the game. That goes for both teams. The Sixers had their shot in game two and blew it.
This whole thing is superfluous. It’s a bun without meat or cheese. It’s a big nothingburger.