Q: Can you attempt an explanation of why the NBA refused to penalize Celtics guard Rajon Rondo on what was clearly a suspendable offense in Game 6 vs. the Bulls?
— Fred, Minneapolis
A: Because the level of subjectivity on the issuance of flagrant fouls is astounding, and because the officials clearly did not want to make themselves the focus of the finish of that game.
Interestingly, just days after that foul, Heat forward Udonis Haslem was ejected from Game 7 against the Hawks for taking down Atlanta center Zaza Pachulia for a shot to his shoulders.
"I watched the Boston series," Haslem said. "I saw (Rajon) Rondo karate chop (Brad) Miller in the mouth and he doesn't get thrown out."
Two days later, Haslem's Flagrant 2 foul was reduced to a Flagrant 1 foul, meaning he should not have been ejected.
The difference is Haslem was tossed late in a rout; Rondo's foul came with two seconds to play in a tie game.
It will be interesting to see how future such fouls are called, since it would seem any player could win an appeal simply by entering Rondo's foul as evidence.
Knowing the NBA, the league will mention this summer how it is revising its rules so that future violations such as Rondo's will be classified as flagrants. The announcement will come with just enough spin as to not sound like an apology.
To admit error at this point is to put the outcome of the Celtics-Bulls series into question. That is not something the league can afford.
Q: Last week you said the Rockets needed to give Yao the dang ball and they did just that. What can they do against the Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals?
— Anonymous, Houston, Texas
A: Give Yao the ball.
No sooner did the Rockets ignore Yao while launching their first 26 shots of their Game 5 loss in Portland then they loaded up with 16 shots from Yao in their series-clinching Game 6 victory against the Blazers.
Yes, Ron Artest was the only Houston player to attempt more shots in that game, but, as we've already chronicled, Ron can't help himself as he continues his ongoing Tracy McGrady imitation (albeit one that comes accompanied by stifling defense).
Then, in the series-opener against the Lakers, Yao attempted a team-high 17 shots, yes, even more than Artest.
The result was a team-high 28 points for Yao and 1-0 series lead.
As that victory showed, not even Andrew Bynum measures up against Yao.
If Houston keeps playing to the league's most unique advantage, it just might push Kobe & Co. to a far greater degree than had been anticipated.
In that opener, Houston showed just how much of an advantage it can have at point guard, with Aaron Brooks' speed tormenting Derek Fisher, and at center.
Now the issue is whether others will continue to defer, or if Artest will attempt to make this too personal against Bryant.
Q: With the recent meltdown of the Hornets, do you see New Orleans moving someone else other than Tyson Chandler? Possibly David West of Peja Stojakovic?
— Kurtis Mills, Keene, N.H.
A: Everything is in play for the Hornets, and for far more than the dreary showing in that opening-round series against the Nuggets.
When the Hornets attempted to deal Chandler at the trading deadline (before the move with the Thunder was rescinded due to a failed physical), it was nothing more than a cash dump, regardless of the spin provided by General Manager Jeff Bower.
The Hornets simply don’t have the resources to spend at the level of the other contenders in the Western Conference.
Understand, the Hornets currently are committed to an astounding $76.9 million in salary for next season, a figure that will put them more than $7 million into the dollar-for-dollar luxury tax on excessive payroll.
Some of the numbers are staggering. While no one can question the $13.8 million for Chris Paul, based on this season's meager results there has to be some thought about $12.2 million next season for Chandler, $13.4 million for Stojakovic, $9.1 million for West and even $6 million for James Posey.
The plan likely will be that if you want one of the Hornets' top-tier talents, you'll also have to take a bad salary, such as Antonio Daniels' $6.6 million, Mo Peterson's $6 million or Rasual Butler's $4 million.
Basically, the Pistons, Thunder or Grizzlies, with their cap space, could have a field day shopping in New Orleans this summer.
PBT: Have the Grizzlies figured out San Antonio, or will tonight's Game 3 yield another win for the Spurs?
Take a look at photos from the playoffs, including the Magic finishing off LeBron and the Cavs in Game 6.
Video: NBA from NBC Sports
DPS: Is it really all about the rings?
DPS: Dan Patrick talks about Phil Jackson's comments about starting a team with Bill Russell now because of his championships and brings up the great question of, if it's all about championships, how come we don't talk about guys like Sam Jones, Frank Ramsey or John Havlicek who all have multiple rings?
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