Miami Heat forward Chris Andersen reacts after blocking a shot by Indiana Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals on Thursday night in Miami. (AP Photo)
NEW YORK — Chris Andersen was suspended Friday by the NBA for his altercation with Tyler Hansbrough, leaving the Miami Heat without one of their best big men as they try to finish off the Indiana Pacers in Game 6.
The league also upgraded Andersen’s foul to a Flagrant 2, which would have meant an automatic ejection had it been called at the time.
Andersen knocked Hansbrough to the floor from behind with 9:02 left in the second quarter Thursday, then shoved him backward after Hansbrough got up. Andersen still wouldn’t back away when a referee stepped in, and the league said in a statement that he “resisted efforts to bring the altercation to an end.”
Andersen has made all 15 shots from the field in the series, and the Heat could miss the Birdman’s size Saturday against the bigger Indiana front line.
Though referees reviewed the play and upgraded it from a common foul to a flagrant, they chose not to make it a Flagrant 2 and throw Andersen out of the game.
But NBA Commissioner David Stern, speaking Friday in taped interview with NBC Sports Radio, said he thought Andersen should have been ejected.
“I don’t know what he was doing,” Stern said, according to a transcript provided by the network. “A serious review of his activities is called for.”
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