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Thread: West Round 2 OST: Phoenix (2) vs San Antonio (3) (Spurs win 4-2)

  1. #21
    Let 'em play in Game 5
    By Steve Kerr, Yahoo! Sports
    May 15, 2007

    Steve Kerr
    Yahoo! Sports

    SAN ANTONIO – Down by eight points entering the fourth quarter of Game 4 on Monday, the Phoenix Suns faced a defining moment in their season, if not their legacy. Would they be able to overcome their reputation as a shoot-first, defend-later, style-over-substance team? Or would they dig deep, make defensive stops, overcome a rowdy crowd and beat a San Antonio Spurs team that was controlling the action with its trademark dominating defense?

    Phoenix answered the question by putting together a stirring comeback to win 104-98 and even the series at 2-2. The Suns did it with gritty defense, great rebounding and a late run fueled by Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire. It was the type of game Phoenix hasn't been able to win in the past – particularly against the Spurs – and just may have been the breakthrough the team needed in its quest to win the franchise's first NBA title.

    But – and it's a big but – Phoenix may be facing suspensions to both Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw for Game 5 on Wednesday.

    Both players left the bench late in the game following Robert Horry's flagrant foul of Steve Nash. Under the letter of the law, each player would be automatically suspended for Game 5. In fact, the precedent that has been set by the league is that there are no exceptions to the rule. Leave the bench area and you're automatically suspended. (See Patrick Ewing, Knicks vs. Heat, 1997.) Never mind that Horry instigated the events with a dirty, thuggish takedown of Nash. Rules are rules, according to the NBA.

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    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.

    Stu Jackson will have a busy Tuesday trying to sort everything out. The right thing to do would be to reprimand the players who left the bench area with a fine but not suspended them. The series should be decided by the teams and the players, not by an inflexible rule. The NBA needs to show some guts, announce that no suspensions will be made and have the Spurs and Suns continue what is turning into a fantastic series.

    But I'm not sure if I see it happening.

    In the past, Jackson and David Stern have held firm on the rule, punishing players for merely walking onto the floor a couple of steps away from the bench. There has been no flexibility. But would the league really feel like it was doing the right thing by suspending all of those players for basically doing nothing? I understand the reason for the rule – to avoid dangerous, bench-clearing brawls – but in both of the events in Game 4, no fights were involved. There were only altercations that never amounted to anything.

    Jackson and Stern should take into account that not everything is black and white. They should be subjective in their ruling on this one, but again, they haven't been before.

    The late-game scene took away from a fantastic Suns comeback. After playing Duncan straight up for most of the series, Phoenix threw several double teams at him that kept Duncan off balance. As a result, the Suns were able to make key stops down the stretch. At the other end, Nash overcame eight turnovers by making huge plays with the game on the line, continually finding Stoudemire in the lane for easy hoops.

    Now the Suns head back to Phoenix with home-court advantage in hand, as they try to break through the mental barrier that exists for every team that has yet to win a title. To be a champion, you have to believe deep down that you're going to win, regardless of the situation. Monday's game took Phoenix one step closer to gaining that belief. But now the Suns – and the Spurs – will have to wait on the league's decisions regarding the possible suspensions.

    The only player who deserves a suspension for Game 5 is Horry. As for Diaw, Stoudemire, Duncan and Bowen? We'll see.

    Let's hope the league does the right thing and lets them all play. The basketball world deserves it.

    Steve Kerr is Yahoo! Sports' NBA analyst. Send Steve a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.

  2. #22
    Guess suns fans would wear cups to the next game.

  3. #23
    I could actually care less if they decide to go through with the suspensions or not. If you think about it, it's going to be even either way. If they are lenient, only Horry gets suspended for his foul. If they go strict, Amare and Diaw get suspended from the Suns but then Duncan and Bowen get suspended from the Spurs (for leaving the bench in an earleir incident in the game). Anything outside of this would clearly be favoritism and would hurt the integrity of the game.

  4. #24
    DADZIG's Avatar
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    Amare & Diaw get a game each and Horry gets 2.

    Advantage: Spurs

    It sucks that they actually benefit from playing dirty.
    Find a new slant.

  5. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn
    Amare & Diaw get a game each and Horry gets 2.

    Advantage: Spurs

    It sucks that they actually benefit from playing dirty.
    What about Duncan and Bowen leaving the bench earlier in the game? They both clearly walked onto the court. Oh well, the NBA now officially sucks. Maybe they should be even more like the WWE and hire Vince McMahon to be the new commish!

  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by micknugget
    What about Duncan and Bowen leaving the bench earlier in the game? They both clearly walked onto the court. Oh well, the NBA now officially sucks. Maybe they should be even more like the WWE and hire Vince McMahon to be the new commish!

    They were leaving the bench in celebration, the rule is clearly defined that their must be a conflict. I can't believe how many people are saying this.

  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Hermy
    They were leaving the bench in celebration, the rule is clearly defined that their must be a conflict. I can't believe how many people are saying this.
    I think that you are confusing the event. The one that I am speaking of is when Elson got thrown down to the ground. There was a bit of shoving, Duncan got of the bench and walked onto the court (inside of the three point arc) and then Bowen came out, grabbed Duncan's arm, and pulle dhim back to the bench. How is that any different than what Diaw and Amare did?

  8. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by micknugget
    I think that you are confusing the event. The one that I am speaking of is when Elson got thrown down to the ground. There was a bit of shoving, Duncan got of the bench and walked onto the court (inside of the three point arc) and then Bowen came out, grabbed Duncan's arm, and pulle dhim back to the bench. How is that any different than what Diaw and Amare did?
    I agree mick. Why should Amare and Diaw get a game if they take a few steps off the bench, when Duncan came on the court and went past the 3 point line? There was a "conflict" on that play too. Just when I was really starting to get back into it, I'm starting to hate the NBA like I did after the D-Wade lovefest last year.

    "The Forcier is strong with this one." - Boda.

  9. #29
    DADZIG's Avatar
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    Elson was hanging on the rim to avoid stepping on James Jones. When he finally let go, he fell over Jones anyways and thought that Jones had tripped him up intentionally and got a bit cheezed off, so there was an impending conflict, indeed.
    Find a new slant.

  10. #30
    A Great Name Beau Bender's Avatar
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    The NBA...punish Tim Duncan? "The greatest power forward ever"?
    ,, wow !!

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