–Brooklyn, December 24th, 2013
The play seemed simple enough. The Nets called “Red Rover Red Rover send George Hill right over” and forward Paul Pierce made the play that, in any decently officiated kindergarten playground, would be legal. Unfortunately, the Nets didn’t realize that tonight the game was basketball, and the play resulted in a flagrant 2 ejection for Pierce.
“We weren’t playing red rover?” Pierce complained to officials, “Come on, you gotta be kidding me, I thought this was red rover.”
Pacer guard Lance Stephenson approached the scene. Court monitors picked up his comments to the 36 year old Pierce, “Come on man, everyone knows red rover is banned after second grade.”
In the postgame presser, George Hill remarked, “I know a fat kid once broke Suzy McPherson’s wrists while playing it. That’s not cool.”
“This was my responsibility,” Nets head Coach Jason Kidd admitted after the game, “As the head coach, it is my job to make sure my players know when they are and when they are not playing red rover. I should have made that clear in the locker room, especially at halftime, to let my guys know we were playing basketball.” Later in the press conference, after spilling his drink, Kidd defended Pierce, “Paul is a guy, you know, if he thinks he’s playing a game, he’s going to play it to the highest level. There’s no backing down when you’re in the NBA, especially when you think the game is red rover.”
The red rover defense is especially valid for Pierce who, after consecutive +20 point games, didn’t score on seven shots against the Pacers on Monday night.
“Paul Pierce is clearly a better player when he realizes he’s playing basketball,” Pacers Head Coach Frank Vogel remarked, “We may have gotten lucky in that regard tonight.”
The Pacers won their third consecutive game by double digits, 103-86.