No suspension for Thomas; ‘Disrespected’ Schroder ready to move on

Make no mistake, Dennis Schroder likes to get under the skin of his opponents.

He just doesn’t want to be hit in the head because of it.

Schroder and Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas were involved in an incident during Game 3 of their first-round playoff series Friday night. Replays showed Thomas hitting Schroder in the head as his ran up court after making a basket. The NBA reviewed the incident Saturday and assessed Thomas a Flagrant Foul 1 for the play that occurred with 1:43 remaining in the first quarter. Thomas, who scored 42 points in the Celtics’ 111-103 victory, will not be suspended for Game 4 on Sunday.

Several people in the Hawks organization believe the incident warranted a suspension, especially as it was laid out in a player-conduct memo issued by the league before the start of the postseason.

Schroder was called for a personal foul 16 seconds after the incident, and he and Thomas had to be separated. After referees reviewed the play, both were assessed with technical fouls.

Schroder said he felt “disrespected” after being hit by Thomas, but is ready to move on. He spoke to the media following Hawks practice but before the league announced its penalty to Thomas.

“I just scored a basket, I think, and go back on defense and he smacked me,” Schroder said. “I think that had nothing to do with basketball. …

“I’m competitive and I try to win the game. I just tried to do everything for my team to win the game. I think he is competitive, too. He showed it last night. But tomorrow is going to be a different game.”

Thomas said after Game 3 that he was not concerned with a possible suspension because he did not intend to hit Schroder.

“It was the right call,” Thomas told reporters Saturday. ” I’m really focused on Game 4 but I’m glad I wasn’t suspended. It was definitely … [accidental].”

After the NBA announced the penalty, Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said he accepted the discipline and was ready to move on to Game 4.

Budenholzer said he spoke with Schroder about the incident. Schroder said his coach was initially “pissed off” at the way he reacted, but apologized after being shown a video replay.

“Dennis is great because he’s so competitive,” Budenholzer said. “He brings a great edge to our team. He and I kind of walk this fine line, or a little bit of a dance. There’s a way to compete and keep your focus. There’s a way we’d like our team to handle itself and be ultra-competitive, but ultra-classy and professional.

“Dennis as a young player is learning that balance. At some point I probably have to give him a little leash. It’s part of what makes him a really good player. But he knows how we want to conduct ourselves.”

Starting point guard Jeff Teague said he likes the edge that Schroder brings as a player.

“We like that he’s a feisty guy,” Teague said. “He plays hard. That gets him going, when he gets the trash talk (going). Some guys play better like that. Some guys lose their mind and can’t play at all. He’s one of the guys who plays better.”

Schroder acknowledged he can be an irritant. It goes back to his days playing as a young professional in Germany. He mentioned the team and fans in Bamberg that let their disdain be known most often.

“No, I like that,” Schroder said of the crowd reaction. “That is just another motivation for me to win the game … It was just crazy in Germany. Everybody tried to boo me out. I didn’t mind because I played great every time. I just got to focus on the team.”

Budenholzer read the lengthy memo to the team before the playoffs. He said he believed it was required, but added he thought this year’s memo was more black and white in its points of emphasis. Budenholzer wouldn’t elaborate on the contents of the memo other than to sum it up by saying ‘Play fair. Play clean.”

Schroder referenced the memo in his belief that Thomas should have been suspended.

“They are going to make a decision,” Schroder said. “I can’t do anything about it. I mean before the playoffs, and what they told us is, what he did yesterday to me is a suspension. Like I said, I can’t control it.”

In other league news Saturday, the Celtics’ Marcus Smart was fined $5,000 for violating the anti-flopping rule. The league cited an incident with 4:32 remaining in the fourth quarter for the penalty.