Pacers-Heat series takes a turn toward the physical

A trio of flagrant fouls in Game 5 on Tuesday leaves Pacers beaten up and injured, but the team still claim its the result of a series between competitive teams.

MIAMI - There were no pleading of the fifth or asking for forgiveness from either party-even when the accused became the victim.

Sitting in this peculiar position at American Airlines Arena on Tuesday evening was Tyler Hansbrough, the Pacers guard who gave some toughness then had it brought back to him in kind. 

"It could have been a retaliation for the way I fouled Wade, I don't really know," said the Pacers forward on getting fouled hard by the Heat's Udonis Haslem early in the second quarter of Game 5. 

Hansbrough refers to his foul a minute-and-a-half in on Wade that like the one by Haslem was whistled as a Flagrant One Foul. The Pacers forward in that hit involved him jumping up to block the shot and on the way down hitting Wade in the head. 

"I went for the ball on Wade and I guess I hit him a little hard but it happens," said Hansbrough of that foul.

Just a minute later, the forward was the receipient of a similar but more severe contact from Haslem which also resulted in the "Flagrant One" call that forced Hansbrough to collect himself for a minute and turn the proclaimed "White Hot" crowd to the level of his name.

Add in a last-minute flagrant foul by Dexter Pittman on Lance Stephenson and the impression was abound that an already physical series was taken to another level. 

"Their were three hard fouls in this game," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra after Miami took the series lead with a big 115-83 win on Tuesday night. "The league will review it. We thought he (Haslem) was making a play on the ball."

Arguments for and against that were made on both sides following the decisive Miami victory which puts the Pacers on the brink of elimination for the first time this series. Questions of whether the league would discipline any of the offenders was up for similar debate though at least one player was ready to move on.

"Tyler committed a hard foul and one of them came in a delivered a shot back. You know, all's fair," said Pacers forward David West when asked about the back-to-back flagrant fouls. 

Even if fair in the unwritten rules of professional basketball the results of the play were heavily against the Pacers. In the midst of the Heat's run to the lead the Pacers lost forward Danny Granger to a sprained ankle and then West to a knee injury.

Both were on the bench as the Pacers struggled in the second half and were outscored by the Heat 66-43. West says he'll be ready to go for Thursday's Game 6 while Granger sporting a walking boot as he prepared to leave the Pacers locker room at American Airlines Arena Tuesday night.

"I don't like this boot either," said Granger-who finished with ten points before rolling his ankle. "I feel OK, we're going to access it tomorrow-the swelling and how bad it is-and pray I can play on it Thursday."

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