Since flagrant fouls are a hot topic heading into Game 4 between the Wizards and Celtics, it calls into question a play that happened late in the first half of Game 2 when Otto Porter was wiped out by Jae Crowder.

Make no mistake, Crowder was making a basketball play. He's a hard-nosed forward but not dirty. He was attempting to stop Porter at the basket, went for the block and clocked him aside the head for what was correctly called a foul at the time.

The game officials stopped the action to take a look to determine if it warranted a flagrant 1. They decided it was not. The play:


For background, this is how the NBA rulebook defines flagrant fouls: 1. "Unnecessary contact committed by a player against an opponent. 2. "Penalty is unnecessary and excessive contact committed by a player against an opponent. It is an unsportsmanlike act and the offender is ejected following confirmation by instant replay review. The offender will be subject to a fine not exceeding $50,000 and/or suspension by the Commissioner."


If No. 2 applies, it's an automatic ejection, which is what happened to Kelly Oubre when he was sent to the locker room early in Game 3 after he slammed into Kelly Olynyk. If No. 1 applies, it's a technical foul shot plus the ball on a side out.

Now let's look at what took place in the second game of the regular season, when the Wizards led 96-88 late in the fourth quarter vs. the Memphis Grizzlies only to see the momentum shift on a flagrant assessed to John Wall. Like Crowder, he made a basketball play for a block in transition. Wall missed on the swipe and made contact with Carter's head which appears to be the reason for the difference in the decisions.

The play:

See the difference in the infraction? The intent was to get the block but Carter and Porter ended up with elbows to the skull. Carter dipped which led to Wall striking him without getting the ball, but he went for the ball.

Wall, who has been vocal about what he perceives as a lack of respect for himself personally and his team, likely would say it is this type of imbalance that contributed heavily to his hot head towards game officials all season. He had a career-high 15 technical fouls.