Dillon Brooks was dismissed in the Lakers' favour: Why have flagrant 2 fouls suddenly increased in the NBA Playoffs?

Dillon Brooks was dismissed in the Lakers’ favour: Why have flagrant 2 fouls suddenly increased in the NBA Playoffs?

What is the reason for the dramatic increase in flagrant 2-fouls during the opening week of the NBA playoffs?
Starting with Draymond Green’s dismissal on Monday for a flagrant 2-foul after stomping on Sacramento Kings centre Domantas Sabonis, which resulted in a one-game ban for Green, officials’ judgements have grabbed centre stage. The choice made the Golden State Warriors undermanned for their victory in Game 3 on Thursday.

When he was given a flagrant 2 on Thursday for striking Brooklyn Nets wing Royce O’Neale in the groyne with his off hand while dribbling, James Harden of the Philadelphia 76ers became the second superstar to be sent to the showers early. When he booted Nets centre Nic Claxton off the floor earlier, teammate Joel Embiid was merely assessed a flagrant 1 — a foul that does not result in expulsion.
For striking LeBron James in the groyne during Game 3 against the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday, Memphis Grizzlies player Dillon Brooks received a flagrant 2 and was ejected from the game.

Flagrant 2 fouls are unusual, on average. In the whole 2022–23 NBA regular season, there were just 14 of them, or one per 88 games. It naturally stands out in comparison to have three of them in the opening week of the playoffs.
Even though the postseason is known for the increased physicality of play, this many flagrant 2 fouls are unusual. Three flagrant 2s were committed during the playoffs of the previous year, one of which was committed by Green against the Grizzlies. In addition, we have already tripled the flagrant 2 call from 2019 and have already eclipsed the sum of two flagrant 2s from the playoffs in 2020 and 2021.
According to the NBA’s regulations, a flagrant 1 foul is defined as contact with an opponent that is “unnecessary,” and a flagrant 2 penalty requires that the contact be both “unnecessary and excessive.”
To differentiate between those categories, or fouls that don’t get to the level of being egregious, a number of criteria are presented. Referees are requested to take the following factors into account: the force of the contact; if the player was making a legal shot towards the basket; whether windup and follow-through are present; the possibility of injury; the seriousness of injury; and whether the incident resulted in a fight.
The intensity of the collision and the degree of the injuries were the main determinants of how Green and Embiid were called since it was obvious that neither of them was making a basketball play. Before eventually participating, Sabonis was designated as doubtful for Game 3 due to a sternum injury that the Kings expressly indicated was sustained in the fourth quarter — when the Green stomp happened. Claxton seemed unaffected by Embiid’s kick.
Although Harden’s flagrant happened during routine game play, it seems that the officials thought his hand contacting O’Neale below the belt was a non-basketball move rather than an accident as a result of utilising his off hand to shield the ball.
When asked during the game’s TNT broadcast whether groyne contact always results in a flagrant 2, NBA Senior Vice President of Referee Development Monty McCutchen said, “No. We take a look at a number of topics. Due to the possibility of accidental touch, it is not an automated call. We want to make sure that players are protected, however, when there is considerable contact and it is obvious that the groyne has been affected.
Any potential flagrant foul call is open to replay review, but unlike other calls that are decided in the NBA’s Secaucus, New Jersey, replay centre, in cases of flagrant fouls and altercations, the decision is made by the referees on the court with the replay centre “playing a supporting role.”

It’s important to note that NBA Executive Vice President and Director of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars stressed to ESPN that Green’s history as a “repeat offender” and his interaction with the Kings audience after the play were also considerations in the decision to ban him a game. For Embiid or Harden, neither is likely to be used. According to sources who spoke to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Sunday, Brooks, who led the league with 18 technical fouls this season, won’t be suspended or given any further punishment for the charge.
The NBA’s flagrant foul accumulation regulations, which apply to both the regular season and postseason, may, however, come into play if the 76ers or Grizzlies go far in the playoffs. If a player accumulates four flagrant points, where a flagrant one is worth one point and a flagrant two is worth two points, they are immediately banned for one game. Harden and Brooks are already halfway to a ban, barring calls that are later lowered, much like Green.
Green was the final player to receive a suspension for accumulating egregious fouls in the playoffs, and his absence from Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals enabled the Cleveland Cavaliers to overcome a 3-1 series deficit and defeat the Golden State Warriors.

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