As Mark Cuban and Dirk Nowitzki celebrate deliriously, it’s time for us to face the unfortunate fact that it could be some time before we see another NBA game.
Come July 1, the NBA will lock its players out and it’s anybody’s guess when play will resume. The owners and players are far apart as things stand, and everybody who loves the NBA can only hope this shortens the offseason and doesn’t run into the 2011-12 season (or cancel it altogether).
At this point the sides seem to be far enough apart that let’s just say I hope you enjoyed the incredible playoffs we just witnessed.
While the Suns of course have been dormant for two months now, all Phoenix fans must feel good for Shawn Marion. The Matrix played a superb defensive NBA Finals in limiting LeBron James and Dwyane Wade and finally gets his ring after so many years coming oh so close in Phoenix.
So long as you don’t still harbor resentment for how Jason Kidd left the Valley you’ve got to feel happy for him as well, and then there’s Dirk, who must have jumped a level in Bill Simmons’ pyramid of all-time great players. Dirk changed his legacy as a choke artist in the playoffs by putting the Mavs on his back and carrying them through an exhilarating run to the championship.
Right after the Spurs, the Mavs were the Suns’ biggest rivals during the heart of the Nash Era, with the teams splitting classic series in 2004-05 and 2005-06. These teams were linked by the large number of players that seemed to play for both teams at some point, starting with Nash, but as the Suns seem to be on the verge of rebuilding the veteran Mavericks finally reached the league’s pinnacle.
Don’t leave that bench, unless a timeout was called
The league is lucky the Mavericks won tonight or it might have quite the decision on its hands.
An altercation ensued during a second quarter timeout as both benches strolled onto the floor to greet their teammates that resulted in almost every player on both rosters in the middle of the court.
As everybody on Twitter reminded me, the difference between this and the Amare/Diaw situation that I can’t resist bringing up is that this occurred during a timeout when teams are allowed to come onto the floor.
But the rule was created to prevent a situation just like this where congestion in the middle of the court can escalate a fracas in a hurry.
League spokesman Tim Frank said in a statement that “a player will not automatically be suspended for leaving the bench if he has already left the bench because a timeout was called.”
I understand that it would be ridiculous to suspend critical players such as LeBron James who started to walk onto the court before the altercation even began. But it seems just as crazy to have suspended Amare and Diaw by strictly following the letter of the law even when they did nothing to escalate that incident but not to suspend players like Brian Cardinal and Joel Anthony who jumped right into the middle of the action in violation of the spirit of the law (Anthony sprinted into the picture looking for a fight!).
At this juncture it’s a moot point, but I would have hoped the league would have considered suspending at least an escalator like Anthony rather than sparing him because of the importance of the game.
Perhaps the funniest part for any Suns fan is that James Jones knew better than to leave the bench area as he was the only Heat player that didn’t charge onto the court. Perhaps he learned something as a member of the 2006-07 Suns.