Derek Fisher May Be Suspended for Game 3

We're barely two games into the second round of this year's playoffs, and we've already been witness to more than a fair share of controversial physical plays. Some, like Dwight Howard's elbow, warranted a suspension, while others, like Rajon Rondo's bloodying of Brad Miller, did not. It's a fine line, and a subjective one that the league looks at on a case-by-case basis.

Unfortunately for the Lakers, Derek Fisher will now get his turn under the league's microscope.

Fisher was ejected late in the third quarter of the Lakers' Game 2 win over the Rockets. The offense was extending a forearm on a screen set by Houston's Luis Scola, and it sent him crashing to the ground. Since Scola was involved the previous possession with Lamar Odom and Luke Walton in a heated exchange that ended with all three players receiving technical fouls, Fisher's hit was seen by the referees as being retaliatory, so they hit him with a flagrant two foul and an automatic ejection.

The question the league will have to determine now is, was the ejection enough, or was Fisher's play so malicious that it warrants additional punishment in the form of a suspension? Phil Jackson was asked after Game 2 if he was concerned that his team might be without Fisher's services when the series resumes in Houston on Friday.

"Absolutely not," Jackson scoffed. "It's an inconsistent situation out there that the referees have to understand what it is. I agree, it was probably met with more force, but if there's a pick set and you run through it, it's a foul. If you run to it and hit the pick, then it's not a foul. [Fisher] ran through the pick; it's a foul. We had a foul to give. We told the guys we had a foul to give, and asking Fisher at the end of the game what happened, he said 'I thought the pick was closer to me and I was going to meet it. I meant to give a foul, but it was farther away and he stopped farther away than I thought he would.'

"He was surprised [at the ejection]," Jackson said. "We were too."

When it was his turn to meet the press, Derek Fisher echoed that sentiment, while trying to explain the play from his point of view.

"I knew that they were going to run a high screen and roll," Fisher began. "They had called 'fist-up' so I knew the high screen and roll was coming, and I knew we had a foul to give. So my intent was to run through the pick hard. For some reason, big guys have been allowed to move and set much closer and tighter picks on guards at the top of the floor that I've ever seen before. So my intent was just to run through him hard. But when I turned to take off and run, he wasn't as close to me as I thought he was. So by the time I ran into him, my arm was up higher than it normally would have been, had I turned -- normally, as close as guys are, when you turn, they're right there. So my arm would have been [lower], but as soon as I turned to go and he wasn't there as close, by the time I got to him my arm did come up more to his mid-section."

A detailed and logical explanation. But will the league buy it and will there be a suspension? Fisher certainly hopes not.

"For it not to be a play up towards the face or the neck or the head, I don't agree with it being an ejection per se," Fisher said. "But I understand [referee Joey Crawford's] position in terms of trying to get the game under control, and in terms of some of the other stuff that had just happened before that. It is what it is, and hopefully the league will review it and there won't be any suspensions involved with a play of that type."

There have been wild inconsistencies this post-season on what gets you a suspension and what doesn't. It's anyone's guess how the league will respond, but given Fisher's track record as a model NBA citizen, and the fact that he was ejected at the time of the crime, there's a good chance that David Stern and company will determine that no further punishment is necessary.

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