After all of the excitement at the end of the Miami Heat’s Game 5 win in the NBA Finals on Friday night, it’s easy to forget that the Los Angeles Lakers survived a major injury scare in the first quarter. Star big man Anthony Davis went down clutching his Achilles area, but thankfully it turned out he had only re-aggravated an existing heel contusion.
Though hobbled at times, Davis played 42 minutes in the game, and is expected to be ready to go for Sunday’s Game 6. Along with good news on the injury front, he’s also received clearance on the disciplinary front as well. Some sharp-eyed viewers noticed that Davis had an ugly off-ball incident with Jae Crowder in Game 5 that could have resulted in consequences from the league. But after reviewing the play, the league determined, “there was nothing further to do with this,” and Davis won’t face any punishment.
Early in the third quarter, Davis and Crowder got tangled up while the Heat forward tried to cut to the basket. They collapsed awkwardly on top of each other, and as they stood up, Davis appeared to swing his arm back and made contact with Crowder’s head. It wasn’t really a punch, nor was it an elbow, but the exact definition doesn’t matter too much, as it was clearly not a basketball play:
There were calls from Heat fans on social media for Davis to be suspended for Game 6, with comparisons made to Draymond Green’s below-the-belt hit on LeBron James in the 2016 Finals, which was upgraded to a Flagrant 1 after the fact. It’s important to remember, though, that Green wasn’t suspended just because of that call, but rather because it meant he crossed the threshold of too many flagrant foul points in the playoffs.
Davis wasn’t in that situation, so it was always unlikely that he was actually going to be suspended. However, it is a bit surprising that the league decided to look the other way on this one. It seems pretty clear from the video evidence that Davis smacked Crowder in the face in completely unnecessary fashion.
In any case, much like they did after Davis returned to Game 5 following his injury concern, the Lakers and their fans can now breathe a sigh of relief that this situation wasn’t more serious.