Did Danilo Gallinari really flop in the final minute of his Denver Nuggets’ recent loss to the Lakers while Ramon Sessions hit a key three? Or did Pau Gasol foul Gallinari on the pick? If the latter is true, why was there no call? After words to the American media to the effect of “It was a tough pick. You’ve got to expect that in the playoffs … I’ve got to be ready and play defense,” he words were a bit choicer in Italian. Enrico Cellini tells BallinEurope about The Rooster speaking out on the Lakers, the referees and especially Steve Kerr.
After accused of flopping in the key moments of game four in the NBA playoff series between the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night, Danilo Gallinari stood up and provided his own j’accuse.
Said Gallinari, in the print version of Italy-based Gazzetta dello Sport: “[The referees] would certainly have called that type of pick on our big guys. It was a crystal clear foul but, as everybody knows, they call fewer fouls for you when you play against the Lakers.”
Gallinari went on to address TNT commentator Steve Kerr, who argued on-air that the play was a Euro-style flop, with “I guess Kerr hasn’t played basketball for too long.”
Kerr’s take on the crucial episode is worth repeating, not quite for the initial cliché (“I hate to say this, but Gallinari is a European player … there a history of flopping with the Euros, OK?”) but for the subsequent argument on the dynamics of the non-call by the refs: “He really exaggerated that fall and I think sometimes when you exaggerate it, the officials won’t kinda give you that motion, like ‘hey I’m not buying it, you gotta to get up.’ So even if Gallinari got bumped in the throat, I think his demonstrative action may have cost him the call.”
Trying to read between the lines, Kerr’s words can be paraphrased as follows: Pau Gasol’s pick was a foul, Gallinari’s fall was a flop and the official chose to forgive the foul and punish the flop with a non-call.
Should a suspected flop prevent a foul from being called? Should both be sanctioned? Or should the foul remain a foul even if the player who drew it exaggerated the call?
Kerr may not played the game for a long time, but he surely knows basketball psychology.
Isn’t this a more interesting than a mere “flop vs. non-flop” debate?
Enrico Cellini is lifelong basketball fanatic and a long-time sportswriter with a focus on Italy and Spain. He was born among European hoops, was raised watching the NBA, and thinks choosing between American and European basketball is like choosing between one’s mother and father. You can follow him on Twitter or check out his Italian-language blog Hoop Addicted.