Lance Stephenson, David West, LeBron James fined for Game 4 flops
The NBA has fined Lance Stephenson, David West and LeBron James $5,000 each for violating the league’s anti-flopping rules.
Stephenson’s moment came with seconds remaining in the first quarter. He had just made a floater over Miami’s Ray Allen. As he turned to run down the floor, he reacted – with his arms flailing backwards – as if Allen’s right elbow caught him in the jaw.
The second instance occurred late in the fourth quarter. As West tried to post up on James, the four-time MVP fell to the ground on his own and West flared sideways like he just absorbed a big hit.
James’ fine was the first time this season that any Heat player had been publicly shamed for flopping. On Monday, ahead of Game 4, James all but endorsed tactical flopping.
“Some guys have been doing it for years, just trying to get an advantage,” he said. “Any way you can get an advantage over the opponent to help your team win, so be it.”
The NBA has now issued seven fines for flopping this postseason. The Pacers, who have three different players that have been cited, are the only team with multiple occurrences — three in fact, including Jeff Pendergraph’s in their first-round series with Atlanta. Tony Allen (Memphis), Derek Fisher (Oklahoma City), and J.R. Smith (New York) were all previously fined.
“I think it’s well documented, I’m not for flopping,” said Pacers coach Frank Vogel earlier this week.
The league has also upgraded West’s foul on Dwyane Wade with 5:57 remaining in Tuesday’s game to a flagrant-1 foul. After James intercepted a pass from Paul George, Wade got the ball and laid the ball up while taking a hit from West. The basket counted after a goaltending call on George and Wade completed the 3-point play at the line to extend the Heat lead to three.
With the point system that NBA has in place, a player is suspended for the next game once he receives more than three points. A flagrant-1, which is for ”unnecessary contact committed by a player against an opponent,” is worth one point and a flagrant-2 — for both “unnecessary AND excessive contact” — counts as two. West has two points to his name.
With the series tied at 2-2, Game 5 is tonight in South Florida, with the tip-off slated for 8:30 PM EST on TNT.