Monday, May 28, 2007

You Want Me To Write About This?

I've been getting a lot of email wondering why I didn't break down Game Three of Spurs-Jazz and since I want to cut those emails off at the pass after Game Four, let me just put it in simple terms: I like basketball, not Greco-Roman wrestling.

The Spurs-Jazz series might as well be played in the Octagon, because this is more mixed martial arts than hoops. Both teams are fouling the living hell out of each other on nearly every play. As Bill Walton has often vented, "Why even have a rulebook?"

Tonight was the worst I've ever seen as guys were getting knocked over like bowling pins with no calls. This went on for both teams until the fourth quarter when the officiating crew suddenly decided to start calling fouls on Utah. I know I have a rep for hating on the Spurs, but if someone wants to honestly tell me that the 25-2 fourth quarter free throw advantage was fair, please feel free to do so. As far as I could tell, it was a joke. Totally aribitrary, like flipping a switch. At BEST, it was guess work.

Anyway, here are the handful of thoughts I can muster: Deron Williams is a beast, Mehmet Okur needs a game face, Kirilenko threw about five passes that were so bad that they qualified as "Larry Hughes-esque," the first tech on Fisher was so bad it was actually hilarious, Manu Ginobili made some big plays, Fabricio Oberto (of all people) might have won the game for the Spurs, the Jazz have been reduced to a two-man team (do Utah fans still think I am "way off" for suggesting they trade AK-47 for Ray Allen?), Mike Breen needs to get off his high horse (it is sad when Mark Jackson has to check him a half-dozen times a game), and watching Manu and Fisher flail at each other is like seeing the Ali-Frazier bout for the sport of flopping.

Bring on the NBA Draft and - gulp - the Eastern Conference at this point. The Western Confernce Finals just suck. Bottom line. Sorry.

(And for the record, with or without Javie's hideous officiating crew, the Spurs would have won the game for the simple reason they didn't have Kirilenko winging the ball into the stands over and over.)

37 comments:

howlingfantods said...

God this series sucks ass. Unfortunately, the ECF isn't much better. And for fucks sake, will refs stop giving known floppers the benefit of the doubt? I like so much about Manu's game, but I just can't stand watching the flop-off between him and Fisher.

I basically have almost 0 rooting interest left (although I always pull for Sheed to have good games, still a fav of mine from the Blazer days) but I really need to see Detroit win just to reward the one team that doesn't flop every other possession, gods.

Anonymous said...

Adam,
I was looking through your archives (I guess I have a little too much time on my hands.) Two years ago you seemed to prefer the Spurs over the Suns, in terms of quality and style. What happened? (Why did you see the light?)

jsuns1 said...

Great comments on the spurs-jazz series, my wife and I couldn't stop laughing. I tried to watch for 2 minutes, but then decided to turn off the tv, which is really sad...I love tv...it's not american not to. I'm excited to have found this web blog and will read your older posts once i catch up on work. Lebron would be my only reason for watching anymore, even though his team is boring compared to the Suns...

Anonymous said...

Jazz led the league in free throw attempts during regular season. Jazz have more free throw attempts in all four regular season games against spurs. Game 1, 40-27 ft attempts in favor of spurs. Game 2, 29-18 ft attempts in favor of jazz. Game 3, 32-25 ft attempts in favor of the jazz. Game 4, 41-20 ft attempts in favor of spurs, including 25-2 in the fourth quarter. Total attempts through game 4, 124 for spurs, and 108 for jazz. Its getting to late to make a coherent point, but I would think that all things being equal those free throw numbers should be reversed in favor of the jazz. And 25 to 2 ft attempts in 1 quarter. The jazz weren’t bumped, hacked, pushed at least one more time in the act of shooting in the fourth quarter…not one?

Michael said...

Alright, this wasn't so bad. I was starting to close the page and go surf the web elsewhere as soon as I saw you were writing on the spurs. I personally feel your quality of writing goes right down the drain as soon as you start writing about the spurs.

Hopefully you write about something else tomorrow...haha. But since the spurs will be around for the rest of the playoffs, I think i'll just skip every post you write about them.

See you on the next topic you move on to!

Michael said...

I guess it isn't really the quality of your writing...which is usually on par. It's more of the content of it and what it's saying when it comes to the spurs.

Anonymous said...

article on the game

Since apparently you couldn't "write about this."

Keller said...

I love that comments are hinting that this blog somehow has a duty to provide pro-Spurs coverage. Those of you who like the Spurs, think they are fun to watch, are good for basketball, make for entertaining viewing, etc. ... you are in the minority. In a huge way. You may be correct or at least have a valid opinion, but why should the rest of us try to muster up the energy to care? I thought this post was funny. And well-written (except for a rogue spelling error). Just because it didn't praise the Spurs, who gives a shit?

Garry Shuck said...

I love it. Looks like my decision to stop watching after the Suns got bounced the way they did (and judging from the ratings, I'm not the only one who made that choice) has had the additional bonus of sparing me from suffering through the suckfest of the WCF.

I've been the sort of NBA fan who watches all the playoffs every year, regardless of who advances, but I have to say it's nice to have all this extra free-time on my hands, not to mention how much more entertaining it is to hear about about bad the games are instead of being bored and frustrated by the games in real-time.

Brandon said...

What Jazz fan wouldn't take Allen for AK? As much as I love him, Utah needs a solid 2 more than him.

Good comments overall though.

Anonymous said...

ABC/ESPN's coverage is terrible. The floating camera is awful and the announcers blow. Stern should make sure that TNT has 100% of the playoff coverage. About 1,000 times better than ESPN.

BTW, the Easter Conference Finals are brutally boring.

Last night's officiating was horrendous, for both teams.

Having said that, the only thing that kept Utah in the game was timely shooting by Boozer & Williams from about 15-20 feet.

Both teams were hammered when going to the rim. Both teams were stripped in the lane.

What is the trend? Playoff series in this post season have had a solid trend (as I can tell from the games I have watched). No calls in the first 3 quarters (some here and there) and the 4 quarter is cleaned up signifcantly. The team who better responds to those changes i.e. who does not lose their cool when calls are not going their way 100% of the time tend to win.

Yes, the game was physical and tough to watch. But it was a good game for a Spur's fan and a bad game if you were routing against them.

Michael said...

My comments aren't hinting at anything. My comments are just...commenting, like comments tend to do.

I actually DON'T WANT Adam to write about the spurs at all. I'd rather him write about anything else, where he has pretty good insight. But that's just my opinion that I made known on my comment.

Do I think Adam will actually listen to my half-joking comment? No. Do I think anyone else in here will read and take it to heart? No. I could care less if anyone likes the Spurs really...I like the dialogue that defending them brings, yeah. But it's like, who cares if I like reading Hemingway, Milton, or Carver and no one else does? Who cares if I like Chopin, (old-school) Radiohead, the Beatles, or Sufjan Stevens and no one else does? At the end of the day, I'll enjoy what I enjoy...regardless of whether or not I feel others are missing out.

Here's another article just for everyone's enjoyment.

Anonymous said...

The articles are meaningless.

In the end, nobody who draws their paycheck from the NBA - whether player, coach, commentator or journalist - is going to stand up and call it the steaming pile of dung that it is these days. There's too much money involved. Who cares if it's about as fair as the WWF, so long as it's still making money?

Everyone knows the games aren't called fairly, whether it's on a team level or just the star players. Whenever someone does comment on it, they do so in hushed tones, and make sure to point out how it didn't actually change things.

Basketball isn't a sport any more - it's entertainment, and there's a big difference. You think those articles show that the officiating didn't matter? The fact that they're out there trying to justify it shows that it does. They're nothing but damage control.

Of course, nobody will remember this next year, and anyone who tries to change it will be laughed away (remember Nader after the Bibby/Kobe foul?), because anyone who expects basketball to be a sport is already gone. Those here for the entertainment value, without any concern for fairness (just correctness, right?) are all that's left.

jessica said...

Not sure I agree with you 100% there anonymous. If it were 'entertainment' and not 'sport'...well, then you'd think it would be more entertaining.

What it is is just a broken system. It's just a mess.

I really hope Stern goes away soon. It seems to me like all his attempts to fix problems in the NBA are entirely misguided.

Anonymous said...

we got ourselves a conspiracy theorist here!

that's right, everyone who's involved in any shape or form with the nba and it's happenings is corrupt! no one can be trusted, everyone's a suspect. bring back mcCarthyism!

tell us, who killed kennedy? Did the americans really land on the moon? i'm sure you have some great ideas about that.

okay, okay, enough of that...got that out of my system. while there are probably some shady things going on (the nba IS a large corporation where money is a signifciant part of their goals), there are just some problems. i don't think they're as great as SOME members of the media and fans are making it out to be. but like with all things, the nba should always look to improve itself. There are areas that need improvement. But I'll continue to watch...because after all is said and done, the NBA is still one of the best (if not the best) collection of talent and skill in the game of basketball, a sport I love.

Adam Hoff said...

Jessica, you said it. The NBA is broken. It is a mess. And yes, it starts at the top. I feel David Stern is losing more perspective with each passing day. I don't blame him for the atrocious Riley Knicks/Heat days, but I do blame him for being so concerned with overseas expansion that he's forgotten all about his fan base. Paul Shirley goes back further than that and says Stern screwed the whole thing up when MJ fell into his lap and he decided to build around individual players rather than teams (like the NFL). Interesting theory. But I personally don't have a problem with the way Stern built and marketed the NBA, I have problem with how drunk with power he's become and how little he seems to care about American fans and players. Seriously, the guy only cares about the overseas market. Just wait and see.

To the more recent post, I'm not really claiming a conspiracy so much as noting that the fearless leader of the NBA is off his head. I doubt reporters are actually lying or part of some shady business, but I do think they are just pushing various agendas and trying to stand out from the pack. The obvious angle from last night's game was: wow, this blows. Other angles ranged from "love the spurs" (positive) to "rip the Jazz" (negative) and everywhere in between. It doesn't surprise me that people tried to stand out with their commentary - that is how the media works. Blogging and the ability to give fairly honest commentary has really painted the mainstream media into a corner where everything sounds like it is a bit for Cold Pizza. I wasn't sure how much value the "blogosphere" brought to the world of sports (even as I was diving right in), but I've come to believe it is of great value. Writers can build an identity - complete with favorites, biases, and other fairly transparent elements - and then write from that perspective. This allows readers to know where the writer is coming from and go from there.

There is a great bit from Norman Mailer's book about writing that deals with journalism and makes this case more succinctly and skillfully, so maybe I will drag it out and post some of it.

Anonymous said...

my "conspiracy theory" comment was for the anonymous fellow before me.

and i like your blog and agree with what you wrote above.

Adam Hoff said...

Oh, gotcha. That makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Those were my comments above, and it's not a "conspiracy theory". I actually buy into Adam's "Systematic Desensitization" theory quite a bit.

I vividly remember a foul during the Suns/Spurs series, where Barbosa was chasing Parker along the baseline... Duncan's holding the ball, throws out a leg and a hip, trips Barbosa, and Barbosa gets called for the foul. Commentator: "Duncan isn't going to pick up his fourth foul on a play like that." My absolute favorite was quite a few years ago, when one announcer (don't remember who) said "You could probably call an offensive foul on Shaq every time he gets the ball in the post, but that wouldn't be fair to him." Seriously - WTF? Throw in refs who are completely unwilling to change a bad call, such as the foul on Bibby even after they saw his nose bleeding, and it's just a mess.

I don't think it's a massive conspiracy - it's just a universally accepted part of basketball, which everybody seems to accept. It's very rarely talked about, but everyone seems to know it happens. They STILL show highlights of Jordan's famous pushoff like it was the best play in the history of the NBA.

"Conspiracy theories" generally require somebody to keep a secret. There's nothing secret about this. The NBA as a whole values the entertainment over the sport. If Michael Johnson leaves the blocks early, he's disqualified - just like every other sprinter in the world. That's fair - and despite Stu's assertion, fairness is one of the key, critical aspects of competitive sports. "It wouldn't be fair to judge Shaq like every other player" is NOT fair.

IMHO, that's the difference between "entertainment" and "sport". No conspiracy required, just an acceptance which it seems nobody comments on. There's no such thing as a "Fairly called" game any more. "Simply bad" doesn't even get mentioned. "Very bad" only gets talked about by the victims. For articles like the above, which both comment on the bad officiating and defend it as irrelevant, the game can only be described with words like "Atrocious" and "Horrible". And that's very bad indeed.

Anonymous said...

you're retarded (to the guy above)

Anonymous said...

Two the authors of the two posts above me:
1) You are right on.
2) "you're retarded." Wow, that's a really cogent, well-thought rebuttal.

Anonymous said...

TWO the author above me:

1) That guy was right. And you're retarded--cogently retarded.

watch dawg said...

Okay here's an actual response to the first retarded guy...at least the first to be accused of being retarded (you guys are all acting pretty retarded, by the way)

2nd post:
"Those were my comments above, and it's not a "conspiracy theory".....
...."Conspiracy theories" generally require somebody to keep a secret. There's nothing secret about this."

annnnd from the 1st post:
"Everyone knows the games aren't called fairly, whether it's on a team level or just the star players. Whenever someone does comment on it, they do so in hushed tones, and make sure to point out how it didn't actually change things.

Dude, you're a conspiracy theorist. Don't be ashamed of it; at least be loud and proud about it. But i don't even understand what you're saying...looks like just blind scattered criticism...

But i don't even care much about the nba. Not until my bulls can make it back to the top. I think it's soon though

I'm outta here. I'm getting ready for the nfl, a real man's sport, haha

Anonymous said...

"Hushed tones" refers to it being the thing that is rarely talked about, and quickly glossed over. Not that it's a secret.

*shrug* If people feel better dismissing it as conspiracy theory, good for them. I guess that's easier than trying to argue that the league's superstars are called the same as everyone else, and the rules are applied consistently to every player and team.

I'm not saying anything is rigged for any one team, although I think certain teams get more consistent leeway than others, for whatever reason. I'm saying that the emphasis in a game is about entertainment, not fair competition.

If that's retarded, please try and explain how all the rules are indeed applied consistently and fairly, no matter who the call is on.

Anonymous said...

ummm hwo can the jazz get tot he free throw line when they are shooting jumpers and fade-a-ways while the Spurs are attacking the basket and feeding duncan

Keller said...

You must have missed the plays where Deron Williams (who is a fair player, I think we can all agree) shot the ball over the entire hoop because was hacked so badly. He was driving to the basket. He was hammered. There were no calls. Meanwhile (this was about the nine minute mark), the Jazz already had four teams fouls and were about to be in the bonus for a bunch of little bumps on the perimeter. The Spurs were certain the aggressor and deserved a free throw advantage, but it should have been more like 110-95 (if all fouls were being called), or, more realistically, 20-12 or so. The Jazz were definitely hacking and deserved a few techs, so my beef isn't with the "25" it is with the "2." There is no way in hell they only got fouled once in the act of shooting in that quarter. Not to mention all the times that Bowen rammed into Williams when D-Will did that "stop on a dime move" (that is filthy, by the way). Even two or three non-shooting fouls would have put Utah in the bonus and helped even things out. As it was, there was a foul with like 2:41 to go and they still weren't in the bonus. That was mind-boggling.

Keller said...

And just because someone wants to discuss the officiating doesn't mean they are taking anything away from the Spurs. S.A. played well. If anything, the shoddy work by the zebras took away from their win. The only thing more tiring than the NBA's horrible officials is the constant complaining. But the only thing more tiring than the complaining is the immediate backlash from Spurs fans every time someone wants to intelligently discuss the officiating. I mean, it is part of the game. I'm not bashing S.A., I'm not hating on the Spurs, I'm just seeking a reasonable explanation for what seemed to be an oddity. Why does that make Spurs fans so defensive?

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of it goes back to Phil Jackson's "asterisk" comment concerning their first championship. That's always been one that people could question, and even with two (and soon to be 3, most likely) since then, it still rankles the fans.

ANYTHING that challenges the legitimacy of their wins, however minor, is not taken kindly. Combine that with the obsessive love that only a single-sport city can generate, and you get the sort of over-the-top defensiveness that has been on full display throughout these playoffs.

Anonymous said...

Yes. San Antonio is a single sport city and there is a passion. In fact, one could argue that it creates the passion that many Sun's fans (very similiar situation as the Spurs) displayed post Suns/Spurs series. That is a really good point.

Reality is how can anyone slam the Spurs after the team got it in the A$$ during the last decaded? First Spurs fans had to contend with Kobe & Shaq. Not only did they dominate them but there were MANY questionable calls... 0.04 seconds, every Shaq non called charge or Kobe travel? King's fans felt this pain as well...

Then last year, the Mav's series. There were two games where Dirk (MVP) was the the free throw line making free throws to win the game. I mean, come on... these calls were made with about 3 seconds left each game for a guy taking a JUMP SHOT!

In summary, Spurs fans have gotten it in the arse a ton but where was the support for them? What creates the defenisveness for the Spurs?

EVERYONE who discounts the team. Spurs are boring... Spurs are dirty... Spurs are lucky... They are a great team with a great player. It is just that the team is not "glamorous," but they are good. They also have a player who does not have have a shoe commericial running every 5 minutes but he is still fantastic.

Wake up! Tim Duncan = best power forward in NBA history. If you do not believe me... go look at his stats. Or, how about the fact that his team has the BEST winning percentage for any professional team in any league since his arrival in San Antonio! Oh, the "Big Fundamental" is a lame nickname and how great is a fundamental post player? Seriously, if you challenge the player's greatness... then go look up the stats from game 6 against New Jersey in the '03 championship game. In a close out game for the NBA CHAMPIONSHIP he almost posted a quad double... that is sick.

Anonymous said...

See? Persecution complex.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
See? Persecution complex.


Gee brilliant point, I agree with the complex syndrome. My point in writing the post previous to yours was to explain "why" the defensiveness existed (and proving that Spurs fans are defensive ;-)

So challenging a win encourages Spurs fans to become definsive but it is because the Spurs are a one team town, the town is the third largest city in the state (Houston and Dallas), it is a football state, the Cowboys are the number one sports team in the state and the town almost lost the team in the mid 80's.

So your team is a legit champion, dynasty and stock pilled with good human beings, but what love is the team given by ESPN? Seriously, ESPN spends more time discussing BronBron (understandably), Red Sox, Yankees and Kobe Bryant/Lakers.

Fans are proud of their team like a parent is proud of their children. When you only have one, it is hard. Guess the only solution is to thicken the skin up and just enjoy a possible 4th Banner.

Anonymous said...

So your team is a legit champion, dynasty and stock pilled with good human beings, but what love is the team given by ESPN? Seriously, ESPN spends more time discussing BronBron (understandably), Red Sox, Yankees and Kobe Bryant/Lakers.

You think that's unique to San Antonio? Welcome to sports. There are 27 OTHER NBA teams in exactly the same boat.

The reason people dislike San Antonio fans is that they refuse to accept that they've got it pretty good. They've got a star player who gets as much call leeway as Jordan or Shaq ever did, the grant flopmaster of all time, and a front office that absolutely loves them. Yet still they manage reasons to whine about how poor and abused they are - usually about CORRECT calls more than a year old. In the meantime, fans watch them raping other teams, and see refs and the front office handing them games.

The problem with San Antonio fans isn't that they're defensive, it's that everyone outside of San Antonio thinks the defensiveness is completely unjustified.

So you don't get ESPN time... Boo freaking hoo. Wow.

Anonymous said...

Try being a soccer fan. The women's US team dominates the world (although not as much as they used to). They're everything the Spurs claim to be and more - where's their ESPN time?

Anonymous said...

You think that's unique to San Antonio? Welcome to sports. There are 27 OTHER NBA teams in exactly the same boat.


Good point, but of the 27 other teams in the NBA how many can say they are on the brink of winning their 4th championship in nine years?

Raping other teams? Right...

Apparently, the Spurs beat your team and your only justification is that the refs, conspiracy theory (refs/stern) and some alien plot caused your team to go down in defeat. It is difficult to admit to yourself that something you passionately support is not good enough. I know, that was 2001 when the Spurs were destroyed by the Lakers. Of course, Kobe travels and Shaq moved his feet and should have been called for a charge on every play.

Do you think the fans know we have it good!? Most Spurs fans realize that if Robinson had not anchored ship in San Antonio, the Spurs would most likely have had an address change. Then, every good player on the Spurs (Robinson included) got an injury and Tim Duncan lands in their lap.

And you help support my point entirely. We are winning championships because of Tim Duncan, Greg Pop and the front office who drafted Manu in the 2nd round and Parker in the last spot in the first.

What is irritating is that fans, like yourself, cannot stand it and attempt to discredit wins. Granted the phrase, "rather be lucky than good," does come to mind but there are reasons why they win. Hard work, leadership, luck... but to say there is a conspiracy theory... dude come on.

Why in the hell would the league/Stern want the Spurs in the finals if they do not deliver ratings?

What we whine about is you whining about the Spurs (remember ONLY team meaning no pro team and no legit college team in the city). We whine that we are a good team and zero credit is given. That our banners are frauds for flopping, calls etc.

Let's try a little creative thinking for a second. If this Spurs team played in New York, Philly, Chicago, LA or Boston then the sports media would run stories about this is the 2nd best dynasty or 3rd best dynasty of all time.

BTW, soccer?! SOCCER?! WOMEN'S SOCCER?!

Anonymous said...

And that's why people can't stand Spurs fans.

Are the Spurs a legitimately good team? Sure they are. They're even a legitimate championship team. But that doesn't mean that every game they win is perfectly deserved. Take away the suspensions, and it's 50/50 that the Suns are the ones facing Cleveland right now (not that a Spurs fan will admit that). And the 25/2 freethrow ratio which started this post by Adam? I guess the Spurs just played a really clean fourth (of course they did)...

That's the problem with the Spurs fans. You feel that anything you get is justified. Whether it's because your team really never fouls, or you deserve it because Kobe does it too, it's completely fictional. Heck, you even sound jealous of the marketing deals - have you not seen Manu whoring himself out for Time Warner every other week?

The Spurs are likely to win, but they didn't earn this one. Whether it's a conspiracy or not, Stern decided the Suns/Spurs series - not the teams. Why? I dunno. But just because you can't come up with a reason more complex than market size doesn't make "we're a small market!" disprove the idea of bias. I tend to buy the "Stern dislikes the thug look" theory, and so has a fondness for San Antonio regardless of the market size. I freely admit they're quite presentable players (most, anyway).

It has nothing to do with who they beat or don't beat - I honestly don't have much of a team favorite any more. I couldn't care less about Utah, and I think the calls were crap there. I know it's hard for a Spurs fan to appreciate, but it IS possible for the rest of the world to consider things beyond "My team lost".

Get used to it. Golden State saved the Spurs from Dallas, and Stern saved them from Phoenix. Nobody outside of San Antonio is going to believe they're the best team in the playoffs this year, finals win or not. The NBA has all the credibility of the BCS right now.

Anonymous said...

Get used to it. Golden State saved the Spurs from Dallas, and Stern saved them from Phoenix. Nobody outside of San Antonio is going to believe they're the best team in the playoffs this year, finals win or not. The NBA has all the credibility of the BCS right now.



My argument was not based on market size but rather that TV ratings drive NBA television contracts. Those contracts are where the league makes its money. Truth is that if Stern wanted to "fix" the finals then he would have the Rockets playing. Why? Because there about 800 million Chinese who would like to watch Yao Ming play. Spurs have historically had low finals ratings, last time I checked Stern is more concerned about global marketing than just about anything.

Oh, I agree that the Spurs were lucky in Phoenix. Lucky that the Suns players left the bench. The rule is the rule. I am quite sure that if the situation was reversed and that Manu or Tim left the bench then I would make excuses as to why they should not have been suspended. So yeah, Spurs were lucky that those players jumped up ran up the court, stopped and returned to the bench and broke the rule.

I thank Golden State but who is to say that Spurs would not have beaten Dallas? Sure they have had a fantastic regular season but it does not mean they would have won the title. Spurs won the most games in franchise history last season and lost to Dallas. Would they have beaten Dallas? If you asked me last December I would have told you no, Dalls is really good. Ask me at the end of the regular season... when the Spurs stayed in the game after the "laughing" ejection, then I sould have said yes. Homer on that, yes. All Dallas had to do was beat Golden State. They did not, so are we lucky, but I would also say that the odds of the Spurs beating Dallas are 50/50.

As to the comment regarding "why my team lost." For someone who lost faith in the league (BCS comparison), has no team you sure have time to argue with fans.

So there are two directions that I could take with this. One is to point out the fact that I do believe someone can have radical opinion other than that their team lost. But that would involve pointing out that you neither care about the league or a team. So your true objective is to perfectly point out the lack of perfection in the league. Spurs are just an example.

The only other conclusion is that you are full of it and wish your team was playing for a championship.

Anonymous said...

My argument was not based on market size but rather that TV ratings drive NBA television contracts.
These are the same thing. Bigger markets bring bigger ratings.

The rule is the rule.

Really? Then the rule that arguing with the refs draws a technical foul... Where's THAT rule every time Timmy gets his whiny 4-year-old eyes? THAT rule is zero-tolerance, too. There's not a single rule in the entirety of the NBA that "is the rule", except apparrently the one that hands the Spurs the toughest series of this year's playoffs.

I used to almost like basketball. The time investment required to be a true fan is insane, but I'd at least follow most series during the playoffs. I've now given up for real. The only basketball I've watched since the suspensions was the last two of the Suns-Spurs, and whenever I was unfortunate enough to be in an establishment that had it on.

It's not that the NBA isn't perfect - it's that it's so far from perfection it doesn't even qualify as a sport any more. A sport requires fairly judged competition, and that simply doesn't exist in the NBA. Stu said so.