NBA changes rules to prevent reckless foot fouls

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-22 17:21:12|Editor: Yamei
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- NBA referees can hand a heavier penalty to players who intentionally occupy the space where the shooters need to come down, a senior NBA official confirmed on Thursday.

Golden State Warriors center Zaza Pachulia angered San Antonio Spurs fans everywhere when Kawhi Leonard injured his ankle after landing on the big man's foot in last season's Western Conference Finals opener.

Pachulia was only given a regular foul then, but replay showed his probable intent to hurt Leonard by sliding his foot on the Spurs forward's landing spot.

"It's 100 percent for the safety of the players," said Joe Borgia, the vice president of replay and referee operations.

According to Borgia, referees will now be able to look at replay to determine if the defender recklessly positioned his foot in an unnatural way, which could trigger an upgrade to a flagrant or a technical foul if there's no contact but an apparent attempt to injure.

Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris was another casualty of the dirty play last season. He landed on Al Horford's foot in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal, limping out of a game the Celtics rallied to win.