NEW YORK — The NBA said Wednesday that Carmelo Anthony's flagrant 2 foul will stand, but rescinded the flagrant issued to Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City's last game.
The league also fined Westbrook, Paul George and coach Billy Donovan $15,000 apiece for their criticisms of the officials after the call against Anthony on Sunday.
Both were unusual plays in that flagrant fouls are usually called against defensive players. Instead, Anthony and Westbrook were whistled for contact they created while attempting shots.
Anthony drove to the basket and elbowed centre Jusuf Nurkic in the face on a shot that went in during the Thunder's loss in Portland on Sunday. The basket was overturned after review and Anthony was hit with the automatic ejection.
Crew chief Rodney Mott said after the game that referees ruled the contact was excessive and not a natural basketball move and the league agreed.
"We reviewed it, the same as we review all plays of this nature, and agree with the on-court officials that the foul met the criteria of hard contact above the shoulders with high potential for injury," NBA spokesman Tim Frank said. "While attempting to draw a foul, Anthony extended his elbow into his opponent's face, which is dangerous and reckless in nature."
Westbrook was attempting a jump shot Tuesday against Sacramento when he and defender Bogdan Bogdanovic collided. Westbrook was issued a flagrant 1 foul, but that was downgraded.
"After review, we determined that the contact was part of Russell's downward shooting motion and the defender was moving forward into his shooting space," Frank said.
A flagrant 1 is considered unnecessary contact. The flagrant 2 is deemed unnecessary and excessive — and a foul doesn't have to be considered intentional to be determined dangerous. The league reviews all flagrants and can upgrade, rescind or leave them as called on the floor. If a player exceeds five flagrant foul points during the season, he will be suspended for the next game.
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