Thursday, May 17, 2007

Respond React

So on the sporting front one of the bigger stories this week was Robert Horry's hard foul of Steve Nash in game 4 of the NBA Western Conference Semi-finals Spurs vs Suns game.

Horry for his part received a 2 game suspension for the hit while Sun's players Amare Stoudamire and Boris Diaw received automatic one game suspensions for leaving the Sun's bench during the incident.

Now I actually happen to like Robert 'Big Shot Bob' Horry. Been a fan since he was in Houston winning championships in the early 90s. In fact I like him so much that I even supported him when he was a Laker and anyone who knows me well knows I've been hating on the Lakers since back in the Kareem and Magic days. But having said that it was a cheap foul on his part. He got caught up in the game and it was unnecessary. I'm a still support him after he comes back from the suspension though.

Anyway the aftermath of the incident highlights what for a long time has been in my opinion one of the dumbest rules anywhere. I mentioned it in passing early last year in another post regarding another silly NBA rule but this one is worse. Its the rule which caused Amare and Boris Diaw to be suspended for a game just for getting up from the bench. It states something like if there is an incident and you're not on the court you cant leave the bench or step so much as one foot on the court or you get an automatic suspension. Its been pretty much enforced rigorously by the league since its inception (which may or may not have been following the Heat, Knicks incident back in the 90s when Van Gundy was hanging on to Alonzo Morning's leg for dear life during an altercation).

This rule is just plain stupid and neglects to take into account any sort of normal human behavior. The NBA wants its players to play with passion but just as quickly turn off that joie de vivre when they step off the court.

Instinct says that if you see your fellow player pushed or shoved to the floor on court at the very least your first move will be to stand up and take a step towards the incident. This doesn't mean you're going out there to bust heads or escalate the issue it just means you're human and your concern for another individual, that you know, has made you want to go help them. We wouldn't be human without that instinct.

So for the league to have no tolerance and enforce this rule with such an iron fist tells me that they don't really think of their players as human beings. They are just product.

The NBA has tonnes of rules regarding players, their behaviour and appearance etc. Some I agree with, others I think are too strict since we are dealing with grown men here not children but this one is the worse.

Mr Stern I know you don't want to have melees on your hand like what occurred in Detroit in 2005 but at the same time you need to acknowledge that just getting up off the bench and moving towards an incident in a highly charged basketball game should not be a punishable offense or at the very least you need to be subjective and not follow this rule to the letter of the law in every single case.

This ruling in this specific game could have some serious ramifications for the outcome of the series as you left Phoenix short handed last night and they lost. It just wasn't fair.

That said I'm still backing King Tim and the Spurs over the Sun.


Crankyputz said...

Having zero sightlines to any of this, i imagine worse case senerio, 12 giants clashing heads, how do you stop em? Prempt them by putting a rule that forces them to not even come close to getting involved.

Don't you just love how I comment on things i know nothing about????

Fiyah said...

The officiating and rulings in the NBA are the most inconsistent I have ever seen in just about any sport. Stern and Stu Jackson had a chance to use some discretion and not follow this hard and fast rule just as they did when they did not suspend some of the Lakers for leaving the bench to break up the Rick Fox/Doug Christie altercation. Their excuse that they had not choice but to suspend Amare and Diaw is BS in my opinion. Its the same thing with them investigating the Bowen kick to Amare's achilles and Baron's elbow and not suspending any of them when they suspended Kobe Bryant TWICE for unintentionally hitting another player in the face. Stu Jackson is a jackass.

Charles Follymacher said...

It's a tough rule and perhaps it needs to be finessed a little to give them some lawyerly wiggle room. But I think the reason it's so hard and fast is precisely to eliminate any talk of favouritism or rigging or whatever. Break the rule, the response is as automatic as it is harsh.

Anyway, I'm a big Duncan/Spurs fan and if they win, there'll be a bit of a taint on it. I'd rather they punk off the Suns straight up.

Anonymous said...

If Sun loses this series I will stop watching the rest of the games. Plain and simple. One thing is clear - Spurs felt like they are a lesser team so they resort to this. Horry's move is totally uncalled for and cheap. How do I define a cheap shot? A cheap shot is when it is done to you you will be extremely outraged and everyone else understands why. We all play basketball and yes, it is a physical sport - but for someone to just whack at you without any intention to play for the ball? If Spurs wins this series they win it in shame! Let's see, they won one in a short NBA season. Then this. If they want to fight Sun honestly they should have sat Tim down in the 5th game. If they just want to win why don't they pick first graders to play with next time. I am sure they will win!

Luke Cage said...

charles follymacher pretty much summed up what I was going to say. The rule needs to have subtext to it so that it's not just a blanket rule because not every time does a guy come off the bench is he trying to get in some licks. Good point J.

This rule never hurts a team more, than when it hurts a team in the playoffs. J, you were correct with the Knicks-Heat reference. I'm not certain if it happened in "that" particular series, but the rule did come about after the WWF slugfests that my Knicks used to have with the Miami Heat. Talk about 2 teams that absolutely HATED each other!

In a series against those same Heat, Patrick Ewing and John Starks stepped out onto the hardwood on the OTHER side of the court and were suspended a game. Oakley too was suspended, but he was involved in the altercation.

So now the Knicks were without 3 guys (all starters - the Heat lost 2 bench players) and lost the next 2 games (ultimately the series) although they played their hearts out in both games undermanned. It's a lousy LOUSY rule and it needs to be updated and enforced with special rules per incident.

In Stern's defense though, imagine he adjusts the rule for this incident. The Holy hell that would have reigned on the commish for taking sides and allowing Amare to play. There's no way he would have wanted Amare to be out of that key game. Amare being in that game is nothing but a plus for the NBA, so I'm sure it must have hurt him to suspend the guy. But he does have to take a hardstance on that ruling.

The Suns almost won that game the other night. And if they did, we are having a totally different convo today. But, if the Spurs go on to win the Series (which they were favored to do anyway), the skeptics will say, well they beat the Suns in a pivotal game and the Suns never recovered without their best player. A mess that needs to be cleared up in the winter meetings.

Abeni said...

Been in love with Horry since the Rockets winning years.Still love the Rockets too tho they try my faith every season

Fiyah said...

@luke and charles: But thats just the thing. I don't think he HAD to take a hard and fast interpretation of the rule. Historically he bent the rule a little for the Lakers when people from both the Kings and the Lakers came off the bench to part a tustle between Christie and Fox.

Well I hope he learned his lesson and adds some breathing room to that rule. But I am guessing he won't.

And still... whats with the double standards on the no suspensions on Bowen and Davis in the playoffs?

Stunner said...

In every sport there is always a little fight now and then, we are all imperfect human beings. I guess there has to be a rule against fighting as a deterrent; if there weren’t there would be a lot more fights on the court! Like hockey without the ice and sticks.