Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said he wasn't surprised point guard Rafer Alston was suspended for a game by the league for head-slapping the Celtics' Eddie House during Game 2.
"I don't have much rebuttal," he said this afternoon. "They [the NBA] tried to go by the letter of the law. He went to his head with an open hand."
However, Van Gundy said there is inconsistency in which actions get punished and which ones don't. And he does have a beef with what the NBA deems worthy of a suspension.
"The problem players have, coaches have, and fans have, is they can’t fathom that a slap to the head, which was minor, was a game suspension, while what [Rajon] Rondo did to [the Bulls'] Brad Miller [a hard foul to prevent a layup in Game 5 of the teams' first-round series] was nothing.
" It’s tough for players, coaches and fans to fathom that, but that’s way NBA sees it. David Stern says can’t take the chance of injury, but I’d say the Rondo/Brad Miller play has lot greater chance of injury than what Rafer did to House. But that s not how the NBA sees it.
Van Gundy didn't stop there.
"The question everyone has is why, when Brad Miller is going to the hoop, why can you just take a swing at him? The only ones who agreed that [Rondo] didn't wind up and follow through were Stu Jackson and David Stern. Everyone else, including Boston fans, agreed that he wound up and followed through."
Alston also said he he wasn't surprised he got suspended, but said House also deserve some blame for the altercation.
"I have to get past it and move on," Alston said. "I have to get past it and move on. A suspension, that's the rule, anything above the shoulders warrants a suspension. You deal with it, take it on the chin, and move on."
However, Alston suggested House was the instigator.
“In the heat of battle, he knew what he did," Alston said. "He threw a sharp elbow. Me being a man, that’s what I did. I apologized to my teammates, it hurts that have to miss Game 3.
"[But the Celtics] have been taunting the last two years. That’s what they do.’’
Chad Finn of the Globe staff contributed to this report.