Soccer/Football has often been called ‘the beautiful game.’ Professional basketball at it’s highest level is just as deserving of this sobriquet. Just watch the San Antonio Spurs play just about every time they take the court. Rough and often times dirty play ratchets up during the playoffs though in the guise of ‘playing hard.’ This has caused numerous injuries which have derailed title hopes for numerous teams in the past.
May 2005: Joe Johnson had his face broken when undercut on a dunk. He shot his free throws, then exited the game and the rest of the series… His team exited the playoffs.
April 2012: Derrick Rose tears his ACL in the first game of the playoffs. His team’s deep run into the playoffs is cut short.
May 2011: Rajon Rondo gets boxed out / tackled and his elbow is not shaped like it’s supposed to be. Celtics exit stage right.
May 2012: Chris Bosh crumpled down to the ground in pain. Heat… hmmm… interesting… they won the title.
Kevin Love had his shoulder MMA style wrestled out of socket by WNBA player Kelly Olynik.
The referees completely and utterly failed in this entire series in controlling the game and making sure that these sort of plays did not happen. The only sport that I can imagine a play like this actually occurring is inside a steel cage. I don’t believe the intent to harm was actually present though the intent to tackle was and if it goes badly for the Cavaliers as a result of this in these playoffs, Kelly Olynyk may get booed more in Cleveland than Lebron did when Lebron was on the Heat. The playoff results as a repercussion of this injury are up in the air. While history will be against the Cavs in similar situations, the one historical perspective that shows the most similarities is the Chris Bosh injury that ended in a title. Tantum tempus narrabo.