Will Isaiah Thomas get suspended for hitting Dennis Schroder? Can Schroder be fined for tweeting about it?
Here's video of the play in question:
The league office is looking into this incident involving Isaiah Thomas and Dennis Schroder, per source. https://t.co/PFOMNDkiZ7— Ben Rohrbach (@brohrbach) April 23, 2016
And another angle closer in:
Full postgame reaction from Dennis Schroder in locker room with reporters on Isaiah Thomas hit to face. pic.twitter.com/suDm5IFyAW— Brian Robb (@CelticsHub) April 23, 2016
After the game, Schroder sent (and quickly deleted) this tweet:
Adam Silver can't be too pleased about this. It sets a new precedent for players complaining about officiating and it's basically an attempt by Schroder to campaign via social media for Isaiah to be suspended. That's not cool. Doesn't the league have to nip this type of thing in the bud? Players get fined for speaking negatively about officials and this is clearly on that level, if not worse.
Moving on to the bigger issue at hand, is Thomas going to be suspended?
Great performance by @Isaiah_Thomas however won't get chance to back it up in game 4 Predicting suspension for swing/contact @DennisMike93— Stu Jackson (@StuJackson32) April 23, 2016
Unfortunately for Celtics fans, Stu Jackson knows what he's talking about. He's the NBA's former Vice President of Operations. Here's what Jackson had to say on the subject last night on NBA TV, via Mass Live's Jay King:
The rule here is very clear and it's a very bright line, albeit that you're making a decision on a very key player in this playoff series. And for that reason it makes it difficult but the league office is supported by the rules that all the teams and all the players are very aware of. And in my mind, he will get suspended for one game.
Isaiah was asked postgame if he feared a suspension:
Thomas on Schroder: "I didn't mean to hit him. ... It's playoff basketball. I'm not going to back down from anybody, and he knows that."— Ben Rohrbach (@brohrbach) April 23, 2016
It's not the strongest of denials from Thomas--clearly he wasn't concerned.
More from Jackson via King:
I hear what Isaiah is saying. At the same time, if you look where the incident took place on the floor, in transition, it's rare for a player to stop at that point on the floor, extend his hand and swing and make contact with a player. So if you're waving to somebody in the crowd or a teammate, or motioning to a coach, I think that that reasoning doesn't really hold water for me. So again, I think they'll look at this. This is really tough. The fact that Isaiah is trying to absolve himself of any culpability here is not unusual. It's unfortunate that it happened and the contact wasn't severe, but it did happen and the rule is clear that he swung and in this case made contact with the player and should be suspended.
I can't predict what the outcome will be although when you look at the play, it clearly is not a basketball play. There's no reason for Isaiah Thomas to extend his arm, swing it and make contact with Schroder's head in that situation, and the rule on this is very clear: if a player swings with an open hand or a closed fist -- whether or not he makes contact or not -- two things are supposed to happen. One is the player's supposed to be ejected from the game, and then secondly the player is subject to an automatic one-game suspension. Now you do have some cases where the referee doesn't see the play during the game, but upon postgame review the player would be automatically suspended.
And more on the process as well:
P1: League protocol on the Thomas/Schroder incident will have NBA security interviewing both players on the incident.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) April 23, 2016
P2: Security will file a report and a full video review will take place. Would expect a fine or suspension by this afternoon.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) April 23, 2016
This doesn't look good for Isaiah, unless he seems a lot more remorseful today and is somehow able to convince the league the play was just incidental contact. As Jackson mentioned though, the NBA needs to take into account the gravity of the situation at hand: If the Celtics drop Game 4 at home they're going to lose the series, and they're not going to win on Sunday without their best player (imagine how ugly Boston's offense will be minus Isaiah?). The question league officials must ask themselves is, was this infraction from Thomas serious enough to decide a series over?
Folllow Mark Vandeusen on Twitter @LucidSportsFan