Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce escaped suspension Monday night, with the NBA clearing him over a headbutting incident from a fiery playoff series opener against Miami, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.
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The league equates headbutts with punches, which trigger mandatory suspensions, but an NBA official said Monday the Pierce incident involving James Jones was not deemed a headbutt.
Pierce received a technical for the altercation in Sunday’s 99-90 loss to Miami and was ejected less than a minute later following another run-in with Heat guard Dwyane Wade.
The Celtics forward said he felt remorse for his ejection because he "let his teammates down."
"I’m too important to this team to be putting myself in those situations," he said.
The NBA reclassified two fouls from the game, with Jones’ technical in the incident with Pierce rescinded, although the Heat reserve forward was retroactively charged with a flagrant foul. Celtics big man Jermaine O’Neal’s flagrant foul, penalty one in the third quarter, was downgraded to a personal foul.
Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals is Tuesday night in Miami.