Pacers vs. Heat: How Loss of Udonis Haslem Will Impact Game 6

Brandon Warne@@Brandon_WarneContributor IIMay 23, 2012

Haslem is rarely afraid to mix it up, but this time, it got him in trouble.
Haslem is rarely afraid to mix it up, but this time, it got him in trouble.Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

NBA executive vice president Stu Jackson ruled with an iron fist, suspending two Miami Heat players. Udonis Haslem has been suspended for one game and Dexter Pittman will be forced to sit for three.

I've watched the plays a couple times over and over again, and I get the Pittman suspension. It came in the final minute (of a blowout, no less), seemed to have little to do with the location of the ball and was flat-out classless. 

But the Haslem suspension I'm a little less sure about. 

I think in the playoffs, suspensions need to be dished out a bit more judiciously. What I mean by that is, if I can be sure without a shadow of a doubt that an action was done with malicious intent, sure, suspend him. But I think the playoffs are on a level such that any suspension needs to only be levied if the intent is blatantly obvious. 

I don't think Haslem's was. 

I felt as though he contested Hansbrough's shot, and the contact made was part of his follow-through. Call me naive, call me biased—quite frankly, I don't have a horse in any of the NBA playoff series—but I just don't think the intent was there in Haslem's case.

So now the Heat will be forced to play an important Game 6—all Game 6s are important, even if your team is leading 3-2—without Chris Bosh and Haslem, the team's third- and seventh-highest scorers per game this season. Perhaps most importantly, Haslem's size and defense will be missed, as long-time punching bag Eddy Curry will likely be activated so the Heat can have enough bigs active for Thursday night's tilt.

Again, just to reiterate: I just think that playoff punishments need to have a clear intent because of what's on the line. In this case, I don't think Haslem should have been suspended.