Last week, as Rick Carlisle discussed the very real dangers of “dirty” play, I pointed out a more subtle kind of “dirtiness” — the wily kind of rule-breaking veteran big men engage in all the time on the perimeter. The perpetrator spotlighted in that post was Kendrick Perkins, guilty of blatantly shoving Dallas’ Ian Mahinmi with two hands, moving Mahinmi out of position to defend a pick-and-roll and opening a driving lane for Russell Westbrook.
It was an obvious foul, a piece of illegal basketball activity that altered the game in one small way. Some two-handed contact is inevitable — and in some cases, allowed — under the rim, especially when big guys jostle for rebounding position. In a crowded scrum, it’s often difficult for referees to see who is doing what, and whether an arm that appears to be attached to one flailing set of body parts is in fact doing something against the rules. But out in the wide open spaces of the perimeter? Call the foul.
In the interest of fairness, here is Reggie Evans late in Game 3 of the Grizzlies-Clippers doing the defensive version of what Perkins did on offense last week (see the 18-second mark of this video, kindly uploaded by MrTrpleDouble10 of the Celtics-themed blog Red’s Army):
Bam! Clear as day, Evans takes both hands and shoves Marreese Speights, right as Speights is trying to hold still and set a pick for Mike Conley.
Evans’ goal, which he accomplishes here, is to move Speights up toward Conley and above Paul, so that the screen basically whiffs and Paul has a clear lane through which he can follow Conley. It works, and Conley is unable to turn the corner on Paul, though he comes close enough to force a bit of last-minute shifting from Griffin along the back line.
The Grizz still get a decent look here, and Speights struggled for much of the game on defense and especially with Evans’ physicality on the glass. Still, blow the whistle on this!