No further action taken against Pietrus
ORLANDO, Fla. -- The NBA on Friday quickly completed its review of Mickael Pietrus' two-handed shove into Pau Gasol's back in the final seconds of Game 4 of the NBA Finals and ruled that no further action will be taken against the Orlando Magic swingman.
A next-day video review of the play was automatic because Pietrus' shove was deemed a flagrant foul, with league rules mandating that all flagrants are subject to review for possible fine, suspension or reclassification.
Although it was initially believed that the Frenchman was at risk for nothing worse than a fine, Pietrus' foul -- the first flagrant foul of the NBA Finals -- could have resulted in a suspension for Sunday's Game 5 in the worst-case scenario.
The review process, entering the Finals, has caused 14 flagrant fouls in the playoffs to be upgraded, downgraded or assessed retroactively on fouls that weren't ruled flagrant during the game.
On the play in question, Pietrus chopped down hard into Gasol's back with both arms as the Spaniard was throwing down his second straight dunk in the final minute of overtime to seal the Los Angeles Lakers' 99-91 victory and a 3-1 series lead.
2009 NBA Finals
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Gasol reacted angrily to the hit after briefly hanging on the rim and quickly confronted Pietrus, with each player getting hit with a technical foul after they were separated.
"I wasn't trying to hurt him or anything like that," said Pietrus, whose fists were clenched as he swiped at Gasol with 3.4 seconds remaining. "Hopefully they're going to let us compete. I've been in the NBA six years and I never had any hard foul fouls, I never had any hard feelings about any players. It just happened."
The foul, ruled a flagrant foul penalty 1, was Pietrus' first flagrant of the postseason. It was also the first technical foul of the postseason for either player, after Gasol's technical against Denver on May 21 in the Western Conference finals was rescinded.
Gasol said it felt more like a punch than a push, and was angry because he was already in the air, too late for Pietrus to attempt a play on the ball. But he understood it came out of frustration.
"I said a couple of things that I can't repeat on camera," Gasol said when asked about his reaction.
"We know that these things are a lot of it is arbitrary. It looked like a serious intention [Pietrus] to come at [Gasol], and there was a flagrant 1 that was called on him," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said Friday. "But that's just the way the game is now. You just don't know what's going to be judged as a flagrant foul and what isn't.
"Usually it's a blow above the shoulders is what's the major differential between, OK, this is going to be a flagrant 1 or 2, and then we go from there," Jackson added. "But I'm really not a good enough judge of that yet. I haven't got a good enough idea of what the league is doing to understand that in totality."
Marc Stein is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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