The potential for suspensions makes technical and flagrant fouls especially important in the NBA Playoffs. But what is the difference between each kind of foul?
In the NBA Playoffs, a single game can swing the outcome of a series. That gives outsized impact to player availability — especially with the kind of brief suspensions that can accumulate from technical and flagrant fouls.
Flagrants, technicals and suspensions (both actual and potential) were a major piece of the first-round series between the Kings and the Warriors, and the Grizzlies and the Lakers. And there’s a good chance they could factor into the series still to be played. For that reason, it’s essential to know the difference between a Flagrant 1, a Flagrant 2 and a technical foul and how each can end up with a player being suspended.
What is an NBA Flagrant 1 foul?
According to the official NBA rule book, a Flagrant 1 foul is assessed, “if contact committed against a player, with or without the ball, is interpreted to be unnecessary.” The opposing team is given two free throws and possession of the ball after the foul. These fouls count toward the six personal fouls each player has before fouling out. If a player commits two Flagrant 1 fouls in the same game, the is automatically ejected.
What is an NBA Flagrant 2 foul?
According to the official NBA rule book, a Flagrant 2 foul is assessed, “if contact committed against a player, with or without the ball, is interpreted to be unnecessary and excessive.” The only difference in the definition between a Flagrant 1 and a Flagrant 2 is the word “excessive” making the difference between the two fouls entirely up to the subjective judgment of the officials. The opposing team is given two free throws and possession of the ball. A player who commits a Flagrant 2 is immediately ejected.
What is an NBA technical foul?
A technical foul can be given for a number of violations and assessed against a team, player or coach. Technical fouls can be given for delay of game, too many players on the court, hanging on the rim or backboard, using a timeout beyond those allotted under the rules, fighting or for detrimental conduct, which can use of profanity, disrespecting an official or opponent or excessive celebration.
When a technical foul is called the opponent receives a single free throw and then possession reverts to the team that had possession when the foul was called. A player or coach who receives two technical fouls in a single game is automatically ejected.
How can a player get fined or suspended for a flagrant or technical foul?
The NBA has a structured system of fines and suspensions for technical fouls based on how many have been accrued during the regular season or postseason. For example, a player is automatically assessed a $2,000 fine for each of their first five technicals on the season. That goes up to $3,000 each once they hit their sixth technical, and so forth. The commissioner also has the discretion to tack on a fine of up to $50,000 for any technical fouls.
During the regular season, a player must serve a one-game suspension when they receive their 16th technical foul, and another one-game suspension for every two subsequent technical fouls.
That count is reset in the postseason but then players serve a one-game suspension when they receive their seventh technical foul, and another one-game suspension for every two subsequent technicals. For flagrant fouls in the playoffs, a player must serve a one-game suspension every time they accrue at least three flagrant foul points (a Flagrant 1 foul accrues one point, a Flagrant 2 fouls accrues 2 points).
Players will also be suspended for a minimum of one game for leaving the bench vicinity in the event of a fight and the league can suspend any player for Flagrant foul violations at its discretion.
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