Chris Andersen said he won't change. He has been advised by his Miami Heat employers that he has to.
A day after being suspended by the NBA for his shove of Tyler Hansbrough and his continued aggression during a first-half incident in Thursday's Game 5 victory in these Eastern Conference finals against the Indiana Pacers, the Heat backup center said Saturday he hopes to learn from the incident.
"I'm not going to change who I am and how I play," he said following the morning shootaround at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, banned by the league from being in the building later for Saturday night's Game 6 of the best-of-seven series. "I've just got to keep my composure a little bit better, and be smarter and make the right decision next time something like that does happen. But as far as changing the way I play and who I am? No."
Actually, Andersen, known for his colorful tattoos, Mohawk haircut and "Birdman" nickname, has been asked to change, or at least advised of the impending consequences.
"I had a discussion with him and that's between he and I," coach Erik Spoelstra said.
A review of Andersen's fouls in these playoffs show he is at three points on the NBA's flagrant-foul scale this postseason, when counting a Flagrant 1 foul that was upheld by the league during the second round against the Chicago Bulls. That means any additional flagrant foul called against Andersen this postseason would lead to a mandatory suspension the following game.
Because of that, the team's staff met with Andersen and explained that even if he is called for a Flagrant 1 foul this postseason, which would not mandate ejection, he automatically would be suspended from the next game, unless such a call is overturned by the league office.
As for the Flagrant 1 call in Game 5 that was upgraded Friday upon league review, Andersen said, "It was their decision. They made it clear it was a Flagrant 2, and it is what it is I have to deal with, the repercussions of it and I'm missing this game."
The shove of with Hansbrough was followed up with an attempt to get back at the scrappy Pacers forward by pushing past referee Marc Davis.
In changing the ruling to a Flagrant 2, which would have mandated immediate ejection if it was called on the floor at the time, the NBA said Andersen was cited because of how he, "resisted efforts to bring the altercation to an end."
Andersen, who participated in the morning shootaround and shot free throws afterward, with cardio and lifting plans for later in the day, declined Saturday to discuss the play.
"Man, it doesn't matter at this point," he said, having previously declined comment following Thursday's game and then not being made available following Friday's practice at AmericanAirlines Arena. "It was just the heat of the moment. The heat of the battle, man, just pushed me out of my comfort zone and I got out of my composure and I let him get the best of me. But now I'm dealing with it."
Spoelstra said there was no value in debating the league's approach.
"We have to accept it and move on, and we already did," he said. "We went through that process [Friday]. It doesn't matter, it's irrelevant whether we agree or disagree. We talked with the league [Friday]. That was what they decided."
Andersen said the incident was about more than the aggressive tactics of Hansbrough.
"It's not just one individual," he said. "It's been a tough series. It's been a very, very strong battle in the paint and a physical battle all over the floor. It's not just Tyler.
"I'm new to the East Coast. No history. Like I said, it was the heat of the moment, man."
He said he already has moved on.
"I can't regret it," he said. "I just have to be positive. I can't sit here and dwell on it."
He said there has been strong support in the locker room.
"They're very positive. They're very positive, very supportive. They've been in this situation before," he said, with the Heat's Udonis Haslem and Dexter Pittman suspended during last season's Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Pacers that the Heat took in Game 6, a game Haslem missed because of a 2012 Game 5 incident with Hansbrough. "They're very supportive."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times