After the Nets became the Washington Generals to the Miami Heat’s Harlem Globetrotters earlier this season, the team seemed to be rallying behind a mantra of toughness and no layups. Then Devin Harris horsecollared Blake Griffin Monday night and was ejected for the foul. Fortunately for the Nets and Harris, the league won’t suspend him. Still, the play has Avery Johnson clarifying the “toughness” mantra:
“I want hard, legal fouls,” Johnson said. “If it’s a hard foul where the guy went to the deck, maybe we’re there to help him back up, and it’s legal, it’s not a flagrant, then he goes and shoots two free throws. That’s what I want.”
I don’t think Harris was purposely trying to hurt Griffin, but it wasn’t a smart foul. I’ve always maintained that if you want to prevent teams from dunking on you, you toughen up the defense. You don’t take a swing at them when they already have you beat. Harris, who has been on the wrong end of some of those fouls, should know better.