Well, well, well...Robert Horry's late-game shoulder block sure blew the lid off of Pandora's Box, didn't it? So what's going to happen now? Will Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw be suspended for Game 5, effectively handicapping the Suns in a must-win situation? It's been pointed out over at TrueHoop (among other places) that the NBA rules stipulate that players cannot leave the bench during a fight...but there wasn't a fight. Just a hard foul and some harsh words. So the final decision should be a simple one: only Cheap Shot Bob should be suspended.

But nothing's ever simple, and the NBA has another image problem on its hands. Many thanks to reader Arif Rahman for bringing to this little tidbit from Steve Kerr's Yahoo column to my attention:

"However, if the league decides to suspend Diaw and Stoudemire, it may have to suspend Tim Duncan and Bruce Bowen as well. In a play that went entirely unnoticed until well after the game was over, both Duncan and Bowen actually left San Antonio's bench early in the second quarter after Francisco Elson and James Jones were entangled. Replays clearly show Duncan walking several steps onto the court as Elson and Jones appeared to be ready to get into it. Bowen then followed Duncan onto the floor, grabbed him and led him back to the bench. If the league does indeed follow the letter of the law, both Spurs players would also be suspended for Game 5."

So there you have it. The NBA must choose whether to hand out (or not hand out) suspensions based either on the spirit of the law or the letter of the law. But if Stoudemire and Diaw get the hook for Game 5 and Duncan and Bowen don't...well, then that would be a pretty serious miscarriage of justice.

Random observation from Evil Ted: "How did the Spurs become the bad guys? Bruce Bowen, that's how. F**king 'foot defense.'"

Edit: Here's the video of Duncan and Bowen coming off the bench.

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Anonymous Mike Herman said...
Can you find some video evidence about Duncan stepping onto the floor? It would make this more convincing.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
The law applies to altercations on the court. There wasn't any altercation there.

You can't say that there wasn't any altercation during the Horry elbow. Bell went at Cheapshot Rob, Nash also tried to have at him cause he got pissed already, being the Spurs' punching bag and all.

Webster defines "altercation" as a noisy heated angry dispute; also : noisy controversy
synonym see QUARREL

It was a nasty technicality that saved TD's whining ass. All that happened when he got on the court was his teammate whining about a non-call.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
"Can you find some video evidence about Duncan stepping onto the floor? It would make this more convincing."

You mean evidence other than guys like Steve Kerr and Henry Abbot writing about it, and the TNT guys showing the video clip and discussing it during halftime of the Bulls game last night? No, none.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
"You can't say that there wasn't any altercation during the Horry elbow."

Well, there's room for interpretation regarding what constitutes and altercation. And that's part of the problem. The NBA interprets and reinterprets its own rules constantly. There's a zero tolerance policy for complaining about calls and non-calls, but it happens constantly. That tells me that the NBA can pick and choose where and how it enforces its rules.

Anonymous JDSlagle said...
The thing is that bad calls happen ALL the time in a LOT of games. The Spurs have had their share of BAD calls made against them. (or non calls) Let us not forget what Jason Terry did last year in the playoffs. SO, if you are specifically hating the Spurs right now, it's just jealousy. YOU KNOW they are well on their way to a trophy and your team probably isnt. It's a sport. I wish people would watch and quit whining. (and) PLEASE dont pretend that (insert name of your favorite team here) hasnt ever benefited from a bad call or some slack in the rules. PLEASE.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Ditto on what jdslagle said. All teams have benefited from bad calls or slack rules, so don't get holier-than-thou when your team isn't getting the upper hand.

"Well, there's room for interpretation regarding what constitutes and altercation."

I think there's little room for any other meaning with the definition I just posted:

Webster defines "altercation" as a noisy heated angry dispute; also : noisy controversy
synonym see QUARREL

Was there a noisy, heated, angry dispute between Horry and Bell? Yes.

Nash, in all his classiness, finally got angry and wanted a piece of Horry. Don't say "this is subject to interpretation" because you and I know what he wanted to do at that time. Nash even admitted in an interview that one must stand up for one's self. Bottom line—he had enough of turning the other cheek.

Did this contribute to the altercation? Yes.

Was there a quarrel between Nash, Horry, and Bell? Yes.

Where's the gray area? The only gray area I see are the missed calls that the refs made during the games. The events during the altercation were clear so the rule handed down by the league was followed to the letter.

Listen, I hate the league as well as you do with the way their non-basketball suits rule the roost, but in this case, I would have to agree with the ruling.

Nobody said it was fair because it seems like the Spurs were actually rewarded for Horry's hip-check (because of Amare's suspension), but rules are rules. Amare and Diaw ran into the court during the altercation and this was wrong.

What if Amare and Diaw caused an even bigger scuffle if they caught up with Horry? What if there was (heaven forbid) another brawl? Do you realize what could happen? A lot of people—fans and players alike—could get hurt. These are the what-ifs that the league is trying to avoid, and the zero-tolerance rule is helping them do just that.

I sense that you root for the Suns in this series, and WE all love Steve Nash regardless of what team we favor, but saying things like "subject to interpretation" is just a convenient reason for saying the NBA is wrong in suspending Amare and Diaw. You and I both know that.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
You can't take this guy seriously. He's playing Suns-fan-turned-Suns-lawyer.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
This is a joke...no man can be this stupid. I mean unless you cry as much as the Entire Kleenex suns team. Starting with the coach.