CHARLOTTE -- The NBA suspended Mario Chalmers for the Heat’s game against the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday after reviewing Chalmers’ hard foul on Dirk Nowitzki on Friday night.
Chalmers appeared to swing an arm at Nowitzki while trying to fight through a screen with 5:01 left in the fourth quarter of the Heat’s 110-104 victory against the Dallas Mavericks. The foul was upgraded to Flagrant 2 during the game and Chalmers was ejected. The NBA then suspended Chalmers one game for the incident.
Chalmers traveled with the Heat to Charlotte but wasn’t at the arena for Saturday’s game. During the day, the Heat’s starting point guard expressed his displeasure for the suspension on Twitter.
“Never in my career been a dirty player,” Chalmers said. “It’s clear that my arm was being held and that’s what caused me to hit dirk. Enough is enough man.”
Chalmers does not have a reputation as a dirty player but he has received two Flagrant 2 fouls in the Heat’s last four games. Last week, a foul against Clippers forward Blake Griffin was upgraded to Flagrant 2 after a review by the NBA. Chalmers was fined $15,000.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the “penalty seems very severe,” considering Chalmers is now one more Flagrant 2 away from being suspended for a second game. Chalmers’ two Flagrant 2 fouls gives him four points in the NBA’s suspension points system. Players are suspended for a game when they accrue more than five points. Flagrant 1 fouls are worth one point. Flagrant 2 fouls are worth two points.
“Can’t wait till Tuesday night,” Chalmers said on Twitter. “It’s startin to get personal now.”
Norris Cole started at point guard in place of Chalmers, who is averaging 9.7 points per game and shooting 51.7 percent from three-point range. Chalmers was assessed his flagrant foul on Friday after fighting through a screen set by Samuel Dalembert. Chalmers said his arm was being held by Dalembert and in attempting to free himself Chalmers inadvertently hit Nowitzki.
“It’s disappointing,” Spoelstra said. “It’s a tough play. We’ll deal with the Flagrant 2 and even that was tough, because Mario had his arm caught and it was a double screen and he was trying to get free, but he did make contact. From that standpoint we understand it. …We disagree with the suspension based on that.
“Mario does not have a reputation as that type of player. This even being after the Griffin foul, but it’s a decision that they made. We don’t have to agree with it. What we can do is agree to disagree.”
LeBron James said Chalmers’ foul “didn’t look good” on film and Dwyane Wade also said the video evidence did Chalmers no favors.
“He was in a compromising situation,” Wade said. “He was getting grabbed and his elbow did hit him. He was being grabbed and trying to get his elbow loose. It was really just an unfortunate situation and hopefully they take a clear look at it and make the best decision after the fact.”
Chalmers is expected to appeal the suspension in order to avoid a loss in pay.
The Heat traveled to Charlotte with 11 available players and 10 of the players saw action in the first quarter. Chalmers’ suspension allowed Roger Mason Jr. to join the rotation. Mason Jr. appeared in his third game of the season… Ray Allen did not travel with the team due to ongoing symptoms related to the flu… Udonis Haslem missed his fourth consecutive game with back spasms but expects to play on Tuesday… Greg Oden made the trip but was inactive.