PHOENIX — The last time Planet Orange waited to hear if one of their own would be suspended for a Lakers game, it was pretty obvious what the outcome would be. After all, that was when Raja Bell viciously horse collared Kobe Bryant in Game 5 of their first-round series in 2006.
This time it’s not so clear whether Channing Frye will be suspended for shoving Earl Watson in retaliation for a few hard slaps in Saturday’s win over the Pacers.
“It could happen, and that would be disappointing because it’s against the Lakers,” Frye said.
Paul Coro provides a nice play-by-play of the incident that basically boils down to Watson taking issue with an apparent Frye elbow on a previous play, Watson pushing Frye’s hands away with force twice, Frye taking issue and “mushing” Watson (Frye’s word) and teammates backing up teammates with lots of shoving but no punches connecting and nobody leaving the bench (Amare sure learned that lesson!).
By New York Knick-Miami Heat standards, this was an embarrassment to fracas’ everywhere. It was just two players with no history on two teams with no history sticking up for themselves when they felt their opponent was getting too physical.
“No, I wasn’t going to punch him,” Frye said. “It wasn’t about me punching him. It wasn’t the right play, but it was me letting him know that I didn’t think that was acceptable. It’s not the right thing, it’s definitely not a reflection on me. Everybody would tell you I’m one of the easy-going guys. I’ll go down and bang with you, throw elbows, that’s fine, it’s part of the game, but at that point I thought it was a little bit more than that and emotions took over.”
It’s almost funny that it was Channing Frye who was at the center of this. Frye is as easy going as it gets in this league. He’s a 6-foot-11 performer who spends most of his time on the offensive end behind the three-point line. We’re not exactly talking about the second coming of Bill Laimbeer here.
What’s next, will Grant Hill be getting into fights?
“I feel like if you look at my past history — which they probably won’t — I’m not really that type of guy to be in fights or in brawls, to be that instigator,” Frye said. “It wasn’t the right play, and whatever they [decide] is going to be just, but hopefully they ask my opinion, and it wasn’t a punch.”
Added Jason Richardson, who was right in the middle of things and picked up a technical, “Nobody threw a punch. It happens sometimes. Nobody should get suspended for either team because it didn’t escalate to that.”
Frye even stood back by the refs after the initial thrust to prevent an escalation, but the way things go for the Suns, Steve Nash said he wouldn’t even be surprised if he were suspended a game like he was for not doing much in a fracas with the Rockets last season. I want to say he was joking, but he looked dead serious when he said it.
It’s a shame that any suspensions would come Friday against a Lakers squad that’s struggling a bit in a game that’s a monster referendum on the Suns’ hot play of late.
If I had to predict, I would say the league will suspend Frye, but I don’t think that’s the right call, especially since it was in retaliation for Watson slapping his hands down twice with force. There was some sticking up for teammates going on, but nothing escalated to a serious degree and Frye never threw a punch, he was just “mushing,” and I’ve never heard of a player being suspended for that.
For now, all the Suns and Frye can do is wait.
It’s just frustrating,” Frye said. “Hopefully when they look at the film they’ll make the right decision.”
Tags: Channing Frye