Okay, fans, let it out. And let it out Loud! The venting over the recently handed-out suspensions has begun. Fans not only in Phoenix but across the NBA nation are screaming about the ludicrous “letter of the law” interpretation which will severely hinder the Suns chances in Game 5 on Friday.
The Suns have been stripped of their Power Source AND their versatile back-up at the 5 spot.
The suspensions of Amaré and Boris are an absolute travesty. We all know it. And so too does Gregg Popovich, who should do “The Right Thing” and sit Tim Duncan for Game 5. Duncan could conveniently come down with a case of the 24 hour flu because you know if the Spurs end up winning this series; it will be the most hollow series victory in the history of the league. Popovich realizes his player (now known as “Cheap Shot Bob”) not only embarrassed himself with the cowardly and unsportsmanlike act, he embarrassed the proud Spurs franchise. Pop knows the Suns will be heavily outmanned at the center position, and any dominating performance by Duncan would just add to the injustice of today’s ruling handed down by the NBA.
Pop is a smart man. He’s a fair man. He could even the tables by making this unprecedented move. Sure it’s a pipe-dream for Suns fans, but could you imagine the reaction to such a bold move? He would be properly lauded for failing capitalize on the league’s unjust ruling, one which punishes the victim instead of the perpetrator.
Horry’s action should shame Spurs fans. Not only could it have resulted in a serious injury to Steve Nash, it now has tipped the scales in the Spurs’ favor for all the wrong reasons. And I don’t want to hear that “Amaré and Boris should have known better.” That was an instinctive movement on their part. A predictably human reaction. But each player quickly caught himself with no further escalation of the incident.
I’m not even going to analyze the rationale of the league with this decision. There is nothing we can say or do to change their narrow-mindedness. They have a rule and are sticking by it. Obviously this rule needs to be reviewed and re-written to inject common sense and allow for an interpretation that could be flexible enough to include extraordinary circumstances.
The NBA may also be losing out on a golden opportunity. The Suns are the heartthrob of NBA fans around the world. They are called the most entertaining and fascinating team this league has produced in years. The NBA has been advocating a more wide-open and exciting brand of basketball with the Suns as their beacon. The defensive rules have been tightened in hopes of loosening-up the nets with the kind of high-scoring games we used to witness in the ’80s and early ’90s. TV ratings are on the rise. Fans are talking about this game again, purchasing tickets and buying the jerseys. The NBA had a chance to stand behind the kind of team that has rekindled interest in this great game. A game defined by grace, speed and skill. Instead, it has handicapped this team and its chances of achieving their first NBA title.
This is not to say the Suns cannot or will not win Game 5. This resilient Suns team has constantly played its best when faced with desperate situations. On Friday night, in front of their furious fans, it will take a Herculean effort from Nash and Marion and a break-through game from Leandro Barbosa to stun the Spurs. So keep the faith even after you may have lost some in the game’s governing body.
In the meantime, the only person left who could somehow diffuse this volatile situation is the Spurs Head Coach. Horry and Duncan for Stoudemire and Diaw seems like a fair enough deal. Do you think Popovich would make that deal if proposed to him in trade talks? You bet he would!