Special Report

Teams that Play the Dirtiest

Grant Suneson

Source: Photo by Chris Graythen / Getty Images

16. Cleveland Cavaliers
> Flagrant fouls: 5
> Games suspended: 1 game
> League: NBA

The Cleveland Cavaliers finished the 2018-2019 season tied for third in the NBA for flagrant fouls, with five. While Cleveland had a tough season, finishing 19-63, the Cavs showed they had a knack for getting under the skin of their opponents. Marquese Chriss reportedly bated Toronto’s Serge Ibaka into a fistfight in their March game. Ibaka was suspended for three games, while Chriss missed just one.

Source: Photo by Bruce Bennett / Getty Images

15. Ottawa Senators
> Major penalties: 23
> Games suspended: 5 games
> League: NHL

In hockey, there are standard and then there are major penalties. Just two teams racked up more majors than the Ottawa Senators, with 23. Defenseman Mark Borowiecki largely set the physical tone for Ottawa. He was suspended twice during the 2018-2019 season, missing three games for checking an opponent’s head and another game for elbowing a competitor.

Source: Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images

14. Colorado Avalanche
> Major penalties: 22
> Games suspended: 0 games
> League: NHL

The Colorado Avalanche racked up 325 penalties during the 2018-2019 season, ranking third in the NHL. The team also ranked fourth in major penalties, with 22 in an 82-game season. For context, most NHL teams had 15 or fewer major penalties all season.

Source: Gregory Shamus / Getty Images

 

13. Toronto Raptors
> Flagrant fouls: 3
> Games suspended: 3 games
> League: NBA

The Toronto Raptors had a great 2019, finally winning their franchise’s first championship. But earlier that season, Serge Ibaka was involved in an ugly incident, in which he and Cleveland’s Marquese Chriss fought one another after colliding at the end of the third quarter. The two big men threw several haymakers at one another before eventually being pulled apart.

 

Source: Harry How / Getty Images

12. Los Angeles Clippers
> Flagrant fouls: 6
> Games suspended: 0 games
> League: NBA

Only one other NBA team committed more flagrant fouls than the Los Angeles Clippers in the most recent season. The Clippers struggled to contain their emotions, leading the NBA with seven ejections. Clippers fans hope that the veteran presence of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, who joined the team in the offseason, could get the Clippers to play with more discipline.