Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Oh, Why Not

The requests are flowing in and I'm loathe to finish the night with actual work, so I'm going to break out another "Watching the Whistles" edition, despite all promises that I would never do it again. I feel like Rudy Giuliani or Roger Clemens.

But it seems the world needs this. And while this would best be performed by a truly impartial observer, I am once again going to do my best.

I've only got time to do the fourth quarter, but since the calls seemed to be fairly even through three quarters and the Spurs led 80-72 entering the final period, it feels like a good place to pick things up. I promise nothing here, but even worst case scenario, perhaps this will list all the critical calls and help you remember which ones to get upset about. And in fact, if this winds up showing the Suns got more calls, I might be the perfect person for the job, because my trends are already established. I'm warming up to the idea.

Fourth Quarter

Spurs 1st Possession - Amare steals a pass from Tony Parker, intended for Tim Duncan. It looks like Stoudemire might have hit Duncan's head with his posterior, but mainly this was a bad pass by Parker. Really bad, actually. Hey, Tony, feel free to create a passing angle.
Spurs 2nd Possession - This is a tough one. Duncan kind of did a pile driver on a pretty stationary Amare, but then Marion came through after the release and hit him in the face. Duncan then does what looks like the Peanuts "walk of sadness" (used to such great effect during season two of Arrested Development), but in reality is the "walk of great mandible pain." Missed foul on the Suns. Chalk it up on the big board!
Suns 2nd Possession - This is where Amare does his best Air Jordan Logo impersonation, as discussed in the previous post. I think three Spurs players blocked this shot. No foul, good call. (And a great Marv Albert moment: "He was LOOKING ... to stuff.")
Spurs 3rd - Duncan gets hacked and the foul is called. Noteworthy simply because this is the play where Barry threw that over-the-shoulder, no-look pass. That was sweet. Who doesn't love Brent Barry? I miss him playing in Seattle as a faux point guard.
Suns 3rd - Double trouble. Can't blame the Spurs for getting a little heated here. First, Handles Marion gets the ball caught on his hip and clearly travels while trying to throw a pass. Then, Barbosa gets swatted by the Incredibly Rejuvenated Brent Barry and a foul is called. It was a pretty aggressive chop, but replays showed all leather. I can't remember my ground rules, but I think I have to count both of these, since either proper call would have given the ball to S.A. So, missed call and uncalled violation. (The good news for Javy's crew - they got the "shooting foul" part correct, so at least they didn't get the hat trick.)
Spurs 4th - I'm really hunting for fouls, but here, Duncan just goes too quick after receiving the pass and the ball flies out of his hands. Good no-call by the refs.
Suns 4th - Barbosa goes for a leaner and doesn't get the call. Certainly no foul on Finley who stands straight as straight can be (as Bill Walton would say), but Barry definitely gave him a little pelvic thrust action from behind. And yes, I realize how truly awful that sounds. I'm not marking it though, because the missed shot opened up a nasty follow-up dunk for Amare. (Which reminds me.)
Spurs 5th - This is that rough traveling call on Duncan, where he slides his foot. But does he pick up his pivot foot, or merely bring his other foot closer to the hoop? Needless to say, in a league where LeBron bounds down the lane taking three steps, where every three-point shooter is allowed to slide over a few feet to get comfy, and where Tayshaun regularly goes 20 feet without a dribble ... this is not a travel. Missed call. (Note: the Suns haven't even started their run yet - they still trail by eight here, 83-75, as both teams have scored just three points - but they are already +4 on the calls. A stark contrast to Game Two.)
Spurs 7th - This was a terrible call. It is the play where Duncan rolled on the screen (he did push off with two hands), caught the pass, and then extended toward the rim, only to find Raja the Rugrat camped underneath him. This may have been a charge based on the letter of the law, but we need to put a stop to this nonsense. It looks like the NCAA Tournament out there with all of these charging calls. Someone is going to get hurt when a player slides underneath after they are already airborne. And at the very least, it is just lame. Of course, Manu (and Derek Fisher) started this trend. So maybe Duncan should be mad at Ginobili. Still I'm tallying it, even if just out of principle. That is three bad calls already on the Spurs, in just 13 total possessions, which might be some kind of record for a non-Mavericks home game. (By the way, I much prefer the Duncan "you have to be kidding, this rule sucks" smile to the bug-eyed stare in disbelief. I also enjoyed the lone fan trying to strike up the "b.s.!" cheer, but getting no help.)
Suns 7th - I have no idea what happened here, as TNT was more eager to show Duncan putting on his warmup than the actual play. It looked like Bowen got stuck in a Nash/Marion sandwich, but he gets the least benefit of the doubt.
(We pause for Oberto Clumsiness Identification. My word, that guy is ungainly. He certainly hustles though.)
(We also pause to note that Brent Barry's ill-advised dribble-out, turnaround jumper at the 8:07 was one of the worst shots of the entire postseason. Not the right time for a heat-check, Brent.)
Suns 8th - Horry gets all shoulder trying to block Marion from behind, no call. Marion doesn't complain and on this day, that is good enough to anoint him World's Most Noble Man.
Spurs 9th - Tony Parker employs the Texas Three-Step to get to the rim and draw a foul. He literally picked up his dribble and then changed direction three times. There is only one way you can do that. Uncalled violation.
(Watching this with stops and starts and slow-motion, you can really see the difference from shot to shot with Parker. When he hits, the release is pure. When be bricks, he totally pulls the string on the jumper. It is as simple as that. He sometimes looks like a pitcher trying to aim the ball for a strike. Just shoot it, Tony. You are sick. Trust the talent. P.S. He's my favorite Spur. Can you tell?)
Spurs 10th - Rough sequence for Amare. Sometimes it is just dumb luck that gets in your way. First, he gets called for a foul on Duncan when it should have gone to Barbosa for poking TD like six times on the double team (although both fouled). Then, he is a second late helping on Manu and gets a blocking foul. Numbers four and five in a span of two seconds. And ... back to the bench. (Oh, that famous Phoenix bench.)
Suns 10th - Kurt Thomas tries to draw a foul on Duncan with the "pump fake, lean in" maneuver, but he looks horribly awkward in his attempt and the refs don't bite. Then Steve Kerr says, "right idea," which I think is a problem. We don't WANT player leaping into stationary opponents, remember? More like, "wrong idea." And that goes for all of you Pumpers and Jumpers (especially team captain Sam Cassell).
Spurs 11th - Duncan gets #5 on a moving screen. This was bad luck because Bell was in perfect position to sell it and because the Suns get away with these all the time (as was pointed out to me in the comments section of the Game Two try at this), but it was actually a foul.
Spurs 12th - This is when Duncan was really getting crapped on. Here is another travel that is technically correct. I watched it about six times. He establishes his left foot as his pivot foot, pivots around, then does a weird, jump move while faking an overhead pass. Thus, his pivot foot definitely changed. However, this ignores the fact that he was being pushed the whole time by Kurt Thomas. I'm going to let the call stand as good, but again, this is some really bad luck. That is at least two calls on Duncan that were technically accurate, but horribly unlucky. Then again, now he knows what it feels like to be Amare Stoudemire.
Suns 12th - Ginobili gets called for a reach on a slicing Kurt Thomas, and it is a very bad call. It looks like all ball by Manu. But note a few mitigating factors: Ginobili had somehow failed to be called for a foul before this point, which is amazing, and he clearly didn't grow up being taught "you play defense with your feet, not your hands." Which is weird, because he's from a soccer country. I guess the lesson is that when you play with fire, you get burned on occasion. And when you reach and slap as your primary means of playing defense, you sometimes get boned by the officials. That aside, the refs blew this one, making it a whopping four bad calls on San Antonio with 5:32 to go. Somewhere, Carmelo and Iverson are shaking their heads, wondering why they couldn't get some of this.
Suns 13th - The soon-to-be-infamous Barbosa "and one." I know these are tough and we see Wade and Kobe go to the line dozens of times on plays just like it. But you can't do much more than Parker did to avoid the foul. Why punish the defender for trying NOT to foul. I made the same point in Phoenix's favor in Game Two on a few occasions, and I will do so here as well. Please, officials everywhere, do not encourage the players to seek contact like Patriot missiles. (By the way, priceless shot of Duncan on the bench. Vintage victim. Of course, in this case, he had a right to be frustrated. Still, a guy with this many titles and this kind of legacy ... he can't tighten it up? Who is his PR person? Also, we had a "ball never lies" situation here, as Barbosa's free throw spun out.)
Suns 14th - Nash lost the ball here on a Ginobili strip (this time it totally worked, so he's 1-for-2 on clean strips in the quarter) and it looks like he was getting roughed up pretty good by Bowen. The giveaway is Bowen lifting his arms in a gesture of innocence. But I couldn't see it well enough. And Steve Kerr says that he doesn't "think there was [a foul]." So we'll go with that.
Spurs 16th - The rather comical Parker shot that sat on the rim for a few seconds. It looked like he might have got a lucky break getting a foul call here, but the replay showed that Thomas got the back of his head with a forearm.
Spurs 17th - Parker goes over the back on Amare with no call. No harm either, but that was pretty blatant at that stage in the game. Not a smart play, but we'll let it go as it was offset by Nash's ensuing butt bump while pitching a ball out to Bell.
Spurs 18th - Parker tries to draw a foul and doesn't get it. There was no foul on the play as Amare dodged him like he was playing with a hula hoop. But it had to frustrate TP that this was the same play he got dinged for when Barbosa leaned on him. Annoying for the player, but not a bad call, I don't think.
Suns 18th - This might be the toughest play of the entire quarter to call. It is where Nash led the break, handed off to Bell, and then - in effect - took Ginobili out of the play. On one hand, Manu kind of crashed into Nash. But on the other, Little Stevie (another Waltonism) had both elbows up. Very tough call. Probably best to let it slide since both players looked like they were loaded with magnets the way they ran into each other. I think they almost kissed.
Spurs 20th - Here Manu seems to take a little forearm action from Bell on the way down the lane. Hard to say if there was a foul, although Ginobili goes down as if hit with a cannonball. I've been giving this play to Bowen all quarter, so I'm letting Bell slide here. Plus, come on, Manu, get real. I think he's costing himself free throws at this point. (It should be noted that because Ginobili complained about the call in the middle of a fast break, he was late getting back and give up an open Marion dunk. I suspect Pop was displeased by this sequence.)
Spurs 21st - Duncan absorbs some contact, but (finally?) is allowed to do a bit of traveling, so these seem to offset.
Suns 21st - This isn't being tallied, but watch the brilliant Nash behind-the-back pass to Amare (with 53 seconds left) in slow motion. You will see Bowen go with the patented slide step right underneath Nash and then you can see him grab Nash's wrist after the pass. Man is he wiley/sinister/downright evil (you pick). It seemed like Nash was batting at invisible hands all night; this may be why.
Spurs 23rd - I thought Raja Bell played great defense on Manu on the drive with 25 seconds to go. Ginobili just blew the two-footer. Call him Retief Goosen (and hey, he bounced back nicely).
Suns 23rd - This was the Robert Horry fiasco. The refs got all the calls right, it seems, so this isn't the place to discuss this mess.


End of Fourth Quarter -
Tally:
Uncalled S.A. fouls - 1
Uncalled PHX fouls - 1
Bad calls on S.A. - 5
Bad calls on PHX - 0
Uncalled S.A. violations (major ones) - 1
Uncalled PHX violations (major ones) - 1
"Net" advantage on calls - Suns +5
Comments: In real time it definitely seemed that Phoenix was getting the majority of the close and/or dubious calls and no-calls and that bore itself out in the "research." There were a lot of reasons the Suns came back to win (Amare bouncing back, Nash being a straight pimp, and Brent Barry and Michael Finley taking a couple of bad fadeaways), but there is no denying that the calls were a HUGE factor. And beyond the +5 for Phoenix, there were probably a half dozen other calls that were really close and/or not typically called in the fourth quarter of a playoff game (or even during the first quarter of an exhibition game). So the Spurs definitely wore it from the zebras. It felt like an alternate universe, to be honest. And in San Antonio! What a strange night.

25 comments:

Kermit the Dog said...

This was pretty impressive. Mainly the way you got it done so fast. But also, I was ready to assume either extreme pandering to the Spurs, or crack at it that was really biased for Phoenix. And there was a little of both, but I thought it was consistent with Game Two, which allowed it to work as a benchmark. Plus, the writing was better and laced with more humor than the first effort, so I enjoyed it even more. Maybe this can be your service to mankind. Breaking down each playoff game with your own individual take on the calls. After a while, everyone could read each post with a working knowledge of where you stand on things. As long as you stayed pretty consistent about things like moving picks, hand checking, etc., I think people would love it. Of course, being consistent is tough, at least if the refs are to be believed. After all, that is really all that is asked of them! Anyway, this was mighty impressive, for a lot of reasons.

The Real Jet said...

This was strong work. There is nothing scientific about it (I don't think there CAN be - this is not your fault), but it does do a good job of building a framework to support what most of believed to be true. I personally found that Game Two left me feeling like the Suns overcame the refs and Game Four had the Suns being carried by the refs ... and your +10 S.A./+5 PHX scores for those games perfectly reflect that. So hey, it accomplished that much.

Loved the Oberto Identification pause. He's a train wreck. Reminds me of a giant great dane that thinks he's a lap dog and just crashes into everything. He's surprisingly good at bank shots with the clock winding down though.

Anonymous said...

Good work. I enjoyed this. One comment, though. One thing (which you mention a couple times), the non-calls on Bowen are not in your tally. You said at one point it looks like Nash is slapping away invisible hands all night, and its true. I think the biggest crime is allowing Bowen to ride people while they drive with no call. Nash was grabbed and clutched by Bowen the entire fourth quarter and I think he only got one handcheck call. Also, the charge/block in the NBA has turned into a disaster. I am ready for NBA refs to only give charges if a guy just stands there for a few seconds and is hit by an oncoming train, otherwise its a block. The block/charge thing is ruining basketball. Remember when the game used to be played above the rim before everyone started sliding underneath guys once they've jumped? Whats worse, is there is no consistency about the call. Each time there is contact, its a true coin flip on which way it will go. All told, nice work. But I don't the officials cost the Spurs the game. Pop sat Duncan too long, and the Spurs were horrible on offense in the last 3 minutes. Thats why they lost. They get to the rim whenever they want all night, and all of a sudden, they start taking jumpers.

Anonymous said...

Agree on the charge calls... if a player leaves his feet then the defender slides into the play.. that is not an offensive foul. Dangerous for both players. Of course, the offensive player should lead with a knee, that should prevent the defensive player from thinking about that move again.

The point is this, having watched NBA and NCAA games for years, officiating can determine games. Even though the calls were 5/0 Phoenix, it is hard for players to fight through it. As your wrote, the situation was VERY lopsided and the Spurs were frustrated. Seriously, I have not been that mad at a series since games 3 & 4 of the Spurs/Mav's conference semis... The point is that teams will start playing differently once they have it that there is a 6th man aka zebra stripe playing for the other team.

Anonymous said...

I'd be curious to see how Game 3 stacks up. As a Suns fan, I can say that I don't think they deserved to win that game the way they played. However, the refs made it very difficult!

This seemed fairly consistent with game 2's analysis, although in the Game 2, when there were multiple bad/non calls in one possession you only counted 1, and here you counted 2 against the Suns.

Anonymous said...

You're right about the nba making a mess of the charge/block. I agree with the other guy who said too many people are sliding underneath and flopping, but that's only half of the problem. How many guys do you see who needlessly seek out contact in the lane to get fouls? Nash is the master of this. If you watch him drive, he'll be going in one direction, then when he plants to jump for a layup, he jumps laterally into the defender and flips it up with his off-hand. And he gets that call 9/10. That shouldn't be a blocking foul. What happened to the good ol days when a blocking foul meant the defender initiated the contact? Barbosa and Manu are also guilty of this (understatement). They're more reckless but equally effective in getting calls. Thrown in with the floppers/sliders, it makes this series excruciating to watch at times.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great efforts. Very entertaining and for the most part correct.

Got to say, however, that it'd be great if instead of just analyzing the calls in games the Suns actually win . . . you looked at games (oh, let's say Game 3) that the Spurs won. I bet you'd find like a +20 or more discrepancy in the Spurs favor.

Jeeva Ratnathicam said...

Excellent breakdown Mr. H.
The most significant call of the night will have game five implications.

Big shot Bob took the biggest "shot" of all. With one giant hip He took out two of Phoenix's top six for game six.

That guy has made a living absolutely killing in the playoffs. Usually Big Shot is known for more positive big "shots". But while the spurs didn't get the calls last night. The biggest call made was one that went in their favor for game five.

Adam Hoff said...

If I can carve out approximately six hours of free time, I will try to go back and look at Game Three. It is unfortunate that both of the games on record were Phoenix wins, but these aren't exactly conclusive anyway, so I'm not sure it matters.

Thanks for all the comments.

Anonymous said...

My first question to the Spurs Fans here would be to ask "DID YOU WATCH GAME 3 AND 3 QUARTERS OF GAME 4? If not please note the constant no called reach ins on Nash. My shear frustration with the bad calls against the Suns and lack of calls on the Spurs had me questioning basketball as a whole, it felt cheap. A positive I took from it all was how the Suns could keep it close even with the obvious handicap, not to mention how much of a blowout this could be if it were even. I will admit the 4th quarter of last night fell on the Suns favor but after feeling nauseous the past 7 quarters it was like a Rolaids. I as many I have spoken with look forward to heading back to PHX so the Suns can take the series and Robert Horry can retire. Another positive I take from this is that after bringing the "dirty team" theory to national attention, the Spurs have delivered on it on the big stage. I don't think they are "dirty" in a bad sense for basketball, I however believe fans and refs need to pull away from Duncans big innocent, note the sarcasm, eyes long enough to make proper calls.

Anonymous said...

Here is an idea. Keep a running total for the whole series to see which team has benefitted so far. Also, compare the numbers to the game outcome and weight them [negative calls for and a win should mean more...]

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see the tally of game 3. Game 4 was not even close to being as one sided in officiating. One question, why aren't officials evaluating calls on a regular basis after games? You'd think they would want to learn from there mistakes and clean up some of the questionable calls. Some of the rules may be ridiculous (charging/blocking), but the least they could do is stay consistent.

Anonymous said...

I am under the impression that you ignored the "Bowen" fouls just like in your first game analysis post. For this kind of study, I believe that if you are ignoring his fouls, you should at least tally how many there were (as you did in your first post). Then that would give us a better gauge on the +/- fouls on each team. Thus, your conclusions wouldn't give supporting data to people that come to rash conclusions without a corollary.

baal said...

3 words for you adam!

most dire bulshit!

Wild Yams said...

Regarding the charge/block and offensive players initiating contact and getting the call, I think the league should tells the refs to officiate it like this: if they feel a player is looking to create contact to force the ref to make a call, always call it on that guy. If you run to stop right in front of someone in the hopes that he runs you over, or if you slide underneath a guy in the air in the hopes that he gets called for a charge, or if you jump into a player in the hopes that the ref sends you to the line to shoot two, those should all be fouls called on you. The league really should just crack down on any and all attempts to get fouls called. Fouls should be mistakes that get punished, they should not be part of your game plan. In no other sport is it a good idea or smart play or a part of the game to intentionally foul someone, and it shouldn't be in basketball. Basketball is a contact sport, but it's during this contact that injuries are most likely to occur. Stop rewarding players who are looking to create that contact because the rules actually make it a smart thing to do. It's just asinine.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that's not how you spell bullshit. If you are going to reduce a post to three words, you might want to give them extra love and care.

Anonymous said...

Also, it seems that no matter which you game you look at, the refs are playing far too large of a role. Even the most anti ref-bashing person can see that this is a problem. The officials are as vital as the players to the outcome of games. That isn't right.

Anonymous said...

On the charge issue, I believe that calling the fouls with the intent to create contact is the best way, but of course nearly impossible to determine. That said, watching the pump fake devolve into a move designed to draw a foul has been the saddest part of the last 5 years of NBA basketball. Imagine if DWade used his powers for good and not evil...

Anonymous said...

As far as the charge goes, if it's a bad rule, which it obviously is, the league should change it. As for officials, consistency is the key. Call a fair game please. I think a huge way to do this is to strongly discourage, maybe outlaw, officials from communicating with the players and coaches. The officials should be the judge jury and exicution. When he makes a call, what need is there to explain it to anyone? If it is a fair call he can stand by it and not say a word. This would discourage flopping, after the play dramatics, and coaches "working" the officials. If the officials just concentrated on doing their job rather than worrying about make up calls (which they obviously do) the players and coaches would worry about theirs. Let Duncan stare til his eyes fall out. Let Dantoni whine til he can't talk. Just call a fair game.

Anonymous said...

First, I've got to give you credit: I teased you after your last pro-Suns column, but at least you had the guts to see the last quarter.
I'm a Spurs fan. The calls were horrible, but the Spurs lost because they didn't defend and didn't make shots in the end. We won't whine and blame the refs.
Take lessons Suns fans: stop your damn whining because, if you tried, you couldn't be more annoying. We all know you're whining because, if the Suns lose the series, you'll feel better about losing if you blame someone or something else. Let's just enojy this series for what it is: the best series and last good series of the playoffs.

reapersaurus said...

You'd be doing a service to the NBA and history if you took a look at Game 6 of the Kings/Lakers 2002 Conference Finals with this same approach. TIA.

Feeble Mcjackson said...

This article is the most bull crap article I ever read. This cost the suns the championship and now set a precedent for taking cheap shots. Just send in a role player off the bench to beat someone up by the opposing bench. utterly ridiculous.

Take That Spike Lee said...

Feeble, did you even read the post? It has nothing to do with the Horry play or the suspensions that followed. Of course that whole incident screwed the Suns. But what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? I swear, blog readers are retarded.

Michael said...

Hey adam, great work.

I think you picked the right game (and quarter) for your follow-up to your first analysis...no matter who did it, it would have to be at least +1 for Suns. Hard to fubar this one.

With that said, I have no clue why you didn't tally up the foul on Thomas on the Spurs 12th possession. Direct quote: "he was being pushed the whole time by Kurt Thomas," which directly caused the travel. No brainer. (And if you do listen to all these requests about tallying all Bruce Bowen CONTACT, not fouls, then I suggest you do the same for Kurt Thomas, it's only fair. And don't give me the crap about them being in the post and having more liberties. While it's true, there's a limit, and refs still set a precedent every time they do call the same fouls on the perimeter as they do in the post--no excuse for them not to call them on Thomas. And Thomas just reaaally gets away with a lot, like people say about bowen. And Duncan does face him up many times away from the basket...which is no different than Thomas guarding a perimeter player in those cases.)

And how in the hell is the 18th Suns possession the "toughest play of the entire quarter to call"??? I'd say it's the easiest. Illegal football lineman block on Nash (yes, I know he's little, but he WAS running full speed with elbows firmly in place). The reason why Ginobili came up to meet him was because, first, that's the normal thing any self-respecting player will do. If I'm in Manu's place and I see Steve charging at me I'm thinking "No way i'm just gonna stand here and take the hit and possibly get knocked off balance." I'm gonna meet him. SECOND, Raja Bell is a great 3 pt shooter, if Manu backs up to let Steve pummel into him, avoiding contact and "almost kissing," as you say, Raja gets a wide open three which he would've probably drained. The only reason why he drove was because manu stepped up into nash to try to guard the 3. Watch the replay, Raja was getting ready to launch the 3 at first. So Nash's bulldoze move (with all the might his small frame could muster) was indeed a foul. Don't know how you miss that. "Best to let it slide" my ass.

But I'm sure you missed some calls for the Suns too and I'm not going to point any out because I'm a Spurs fan (those Duncan traveling calls were a bit much but, hey, they were travels...But yeah, it's tough to swallow when you see Vince Carter switch his pivot so obviously on the last play of his game, right in the open, and not have it called...not to mention Lebron)

But in a way, you picked the wrong game to analyze, because I don't think the blame falls on the refs at all. Nor am I gonna place it on the Spurs choking and falling apart (which they sort of did, I guess). The sole reason for the suns winning is because Nash and the Suns simply outplayed, outhustled, and out-executed, and showed tremendous amount of heart to forcibly wrestle and wrangle the win away. Seriously, they earned a handful more respect from me for sure for this game. Really, I've always admired Nash, and he's been one of my favorites, but man...he is really unreal.

P.S.
About the Horry foul...inexcusably and completely dirty play (the only truly "dirty" play I've seen from the Spurs in any off the top memory). Now, I define "dirty" in a very specific way. Dirty to me means, going out and playing with definite, malicious intent to solely harm someone. Spurs haven't done tht until this game. That's what Horry did.

But--sort of jokingly--this could turn out to be the ultimate veteran move by Big Shot Rob. He was frustrated, let it boil over, but he still did it right in front of the Suns bench (and his "hit" was NOT that hard...I think he just caught Steve at a really vulnerable part in his stride. Happens all the time in tackle, flag, or touch football when you go flying after relatively small hits). Horry is old, figures he needs a game to rest anyway, and so why not sit out with some SUNS players too?? He has to know how dumb Amare is (and really, the kid is DUMB) and Amare, to be honest, instantly turned into a moth to a flame, as you'd expect him to do. Total bullshit that he was "checking in."Yeahhh...whatever Amare. Watch Kenny Smith's analysis on Inside the Nba...heck even Barkley, the stupid one, didn't even try to justify that as "checking in." He just said the rule was dumb and there HAS TO BE AN E-X-C-E-P-T-I-O-N. But no, I don't actually think Horry did it with all this in mind. But it's interesting to think about at least.

I personally didn't want them to get suspended. Really...it was tough to get to this point, but i decided that that was what I wanted, as I wanted to spurs to beat phx at their best, don't give them any excuses, and Horry just committed a stupid, stupid foul. But I do THINK they should've been suspended, no matter what I want.

Great post, enjoyable read. Although I don't think you're even going to read this comment as I'm a bit late. But oh well.

Adam Hoff said...

Wrong! I did read it. Right away, as it turns out. And more good stuff. I really appreciate comments like these.

When I say that Nash play was tough to call, I think it was more of a "this exercise can get tough, I'm not sure what to make of some of these" type of thing. Given a day, I think it is more obvious. But last night it seemed hard to determine. Of course, it was close to 3 a.m.

It seems possible that Horry might have had something crafty and devious in mind, but I'm not sure he could have pieced that whole plan together. But yeah, Amare isn't that bright. I think I mention that this particular rule requires that players either be totally dispassionate (which would be lame) or cerebral in order to not violate it. And Amare fails the latter. I know that is kind of brutal, but it is true. This is the kind of rule that is a real disadvantage for more emotional, less-intelligent players.

Anyway, good stuff. The whole thing is a real bummer because even with the spotty officiating on both sides, this had been a dandy of a series and was shaping up to be epic. But now it has sort of let Phoenix off the hook, it will diminish a S.A. victory, and it just kinds of taints it. I can very much see why a Spurs fan would be disappointed by the decision, as it creates more of a "no win" situation. A Spurs win will be greated by "you were given it" complaints and a loss will come with "you choked; even with Amare out!" jeers. Not ideal.

In fact, one of my chief complaints with the officiating - especially in the first round - is that it can get so bad that it takes away from the winning teams. Okay, time to go back to the Utah-GSW game which is paused and awaiting me.

And as for the timing of the comment, I always say better late than never.