BOCA RATON, FLA., SEPT. 16 -- The NBA continued its crackdown on hard fouls today as its competition committee recommended the ejection of players committing halfcourt fouls not involving a play on the ball.
On the final day of unusually quiet league meetings -- teams seemed reluctant to talk trades at least until the Sept. 24 hearing in Newark being brought by opponents of the NBA Players Association's new pre-pension plan -- the committee decided unanimously to restrict a player from fouling in half-court situations when there is excessive contact and there is no attempt to play the ball. In addition, the offended team will receive two free throws plus possession of the ball.
This is an extension of rules changes enacted during the playoffs last year.
"It seemed to be an accepted part of our game, that any foul you made in the half-court situation was a legitimate foul, whether you took somebody's head off, whether you undercut them," said NBA Director of Operations Rod Thorn. "The feeling of our group is that it's coming to the point where we're putting our players at risk of having serious injuries."
The committee also amended its interpretation of the breakaway foul rule, in which a player comes up behind another to stop a sure basket. Now, referees will have the discretion to penalize breakaway fouls with two free throws plus possession, depending on the amount of contact.
Two procedural changes were made. The tiebreaker rule for home-court advantage in the NBA Finals was amended. Now, if the two teams have split their head-to-head meetings, the second tiebreaker is the Eastern Conference champion's record against the Western Conference, and vice versa.
Last season, the Pistons got home court over Portland because of Detroit's better record in its conference, but the Pistons played fewer conference games than Portland because of the unbalanced team distribution in the conferences (13 in the Eastern, 14 in the Western).
Also, beginning with the 1992 All-Star Game, no coach can be the all-star coach two years in a row. Currently, the coach comes from the team with the best record in its conference about a week before the all-star break. Now, if the team is the same the next year, the coach chosen will come from the team with the next-best conference record.