Wednesday, May 16, 2007

NBA Playoffs

Michael Dorf has an interesting post on the Spurs-Suns suspensions just handed down by the NBA.
I would note how the Suns' response to the Spurs' a-rule-is-a-rule argument follows the familiar path of legal realism. Yes, the Suns say, the rule itself provides the league no discretion if there is an altercation, but the triggering term "altercation" is itself ambiguous.
(Hat tip Jonathan Adler.)

My own take here is that there was in fact an altercation, since Horry threw an elbow at Bell.

But IMO that doesn't clear the league of error. While they were right to suspend Stoudemire and Diaw, they were dead wrong for not suspending Bowen. By not punishing the Spurs for Bowen's antics, they sent the message that Nash was on his own. I gotta think that in the same situation, I'd be coming off the bench myself, suspension or not.

The same applies to the Jazz-Warriors series. By not suspending Davis and Richardson after game 4, the league tacitly pre-approved Jackson's idiotic attack on Dee Brown in game 5. (On the other hand Barnes' technical was a horrible call.)

And yes: Jackson should be suspended for next season's first game. If you're going to punish Stoudemire and Diaw for foolishly endangering themselves and others, how can you not punish Jackson who recklessly endangered another player?

I'd even go so far as to suggest the league should adopt a true zero-fighting rule: any flagrant foul of any severity automatically triggers a suspension of at least one game, possibly more depending on severity and/or frequency.