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NBA Playoffs, Magic v. Celtics: Matt Barnes says what we already know about Paul Pierce

May 21, 2010, 1:23 PM EDT

There are various degrees of flopping. There are players that “flop” strictly as a way to exaggerate contact in order to get a call they rightfully deserve. There are others who flop as a way to validate a smart play, like when the how every player that draws a charge isn’t just knocked over, but sent sliding across the floor. Then there are those who create fouls from nothing, and through a scream of pain, a flailing of limbs, and often a fall, some players are able to completely manipulate the referees into seeing something that flat-out didn’t happen.

Then on another level entirely is Baron Davis’ flop against Mehmet Okur in 2007, which is just tremendous.

Paul Pierce is a fantastic player, but the infuriating thing about him is that he stands (or falls?) amongst the most egregious floppers. It’s one thing for Paul to exaggerate a bump on the way to the rim, but the way he collapses on the floor after minimal incidental contact or pretends to be hit in the head while shooting seems like it should be beneath him. He’s honestly too good of a player to be compensating like that.

Matt Barnes, who has become intimately familiar with Pierce’s…gamesmanship, talked a bit about Paul and his ability to manufacture foul calls. From Tania Ganguli of the Orlando Sentinel:

Pierce can be a maddening player for opposing teams.

His ability to score and to draw fouls are among his strengths. Both
California guys, Barnes knows Pierce’s game well. And while some of
Pierce’s antics annoy Barnes, he said he doesn’t “go for” some of what
Pierce tries to do, he couldn’t deny Pierce’s effectiveness.

“My third foul in the third quarter, when I tried to beat him over
the screen, he fell down like I threw him,” Barnes said, when asked
about Pierce’s tendency to exaggerate contact. “It was ridiculous. But
the refs called it, so it was a good play. It was a flop, 100 percent,
and that’s how some guys like to play. But if the refs call it, it’s
effective.”

Barnes’ quote applies more to a singular incident of Pierce’s flopping than a general trend, but his point stands. However, that doesn’t mean I’m here on a holy crusade to rid the world of the flopping abomination. That’s the problem, actually. No matter how much we rant and rave, there isn’t a convenient solution to get rid of this kind of play. Pierce will continue to go on rewarded for what he does, and there’s really not much the NBA can do about it.

Start giving technical fouls for flopping? Well, that relies on refs correctly identifying the flopping in the first place in the course of a game, which they’re clearly not doing. Fine players for flopping? It can be obvious like in that Baron Davis clip, but there’s pretty much no bright line on what constitutes flopping, and assessing who’s to be fined would be a hell of a judgment call.

Rather it’s just to reference what Paul is doing, shake my head in disgust, and maybe even laugh at him a bit. There are players in this league who need to sell calls in order to elevate their value and earn their next big payday. Pierce is not such a player, and it’s interesting to note that despite Paul’s hubris, he still thinks he needs to be.

  1. GT - May 21, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    Sure, the Truth is a master flopper, but so is >50% of the league. But did you see the two scars on his forehead from the Howard flagrant foul in game 2? This ain’t pro wrestling, he did not hide a razor in his headband and cut himself when lying on the floor. I dare you to call that flopping.

  2. GT - May 21, 2010 at 4:10 PM

    Sure, the Truth is a master flopper, but so is >50% of the league. But did you see the two scars on his forehead from the Howard flagrant foul in game 2? This ain’t pro wrestling, he did not hide a razor in his headband and cut himself when lying on the floor. I dare you to call that flopping.

  3. Bizzle - May 21, 2010 at 5:47 PM

    Obviously GT is form Bahston.
    >50 percent of the league is NOT full of Mater floppers. It’s disgusting but tolerable when scrubs like Verajoa and Sasha Vujacic flop, btu when it;s legit stars it’s just unacceptable. Jordan, Kobe, Wade, Melo, Lebron those guys didn’t and don’t flop.
    Don’t make excuse for “The Truth” and his disgusting flopping, but then again this is a guy that got carried off the floor and needed a wheelchair for “almost” teaking his ankle.

  4. TheGhost - May 21, 2010 at 10:30 PM

    And Bizzle its Obvious your from the Tragic Kingdom. What I don’t understand is why this poor writer/journalist is spending her time writing about people flopping? She should be writing about the lack of post moves Dwight Howard possess and also the lack of players the tragic have that can’t create their own shot. I think she is a little sensitive because of what Paul Pierce said after game 2.The point is she knows there is no one on this team that can contain Pierce so she is trying to save face.

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