I’m a big fan of the NBA and basketball in general. I’ve always loved basketball and as a fan of the Spurs I’ve seen just about every regular season game this year. In addition, I’ve watched almost every playoff game period, much to the chagrin of my wife. It’s playoff time and everyone knows that the level of play goes way up in the post season. From the Warriors knocking off the Mavs to the recent controversies in the Spurs/Suns series, it’s all great basketball.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve no doubt heard about the Horry/Nash incident. With ~20 seconds left in game 4, Robert Horry “hip checks” a sprinting Nash into the scorers table. This incident resulted in a few Suns players leaving the bench, only to be dragged back by their coaches. After the outbreak was supressed, the Suns went on to win the game and ultimately tie up the series 2-2. Yesterday evening the NBA handed down their ruling on the situation. Robert Horry was hit with a 2 game suspension and Amare Stoudemiere and Boris Diaw were both hit with a single game for leaving the bench during an “altercation”. This is a key word that makes all the difference.

On my drive to work in the morning I listen to “Out of Bounds” on Fox Sports Radio. J-Dub and Shemon are very entertaining to listen to, even if I don’t agree with what they say. This morning, however, Chris Moore was filling in for Shemon and the garbage spewing from his mouth forced me to turn the radio off. Moore seems to think that the NBA’s ruling on the situation was way off base and that Amare and Diaw should be allowed to play because it’s what is best for the game.

I’m sorry Moore, but last time I checked, ignoring the rules simply to make the game better isn’t why rules exist. Should superstars be allowed more than 6 fouls because it’s better for them to be in the game and not ridin’ the pine? No. Should superstars be allowed to travel because if they don’t then they don’t get to make spectacular shots? No. The rule was established for a reason, and while I think it needs to be revised, the NBA can’t just willy nilly change it for a specific incident.

The rule is 10 years old and everyone knows about it, so what is surprising is that people like Amare don’t have the presence of mind to say to themselves “If I leave this bench and go out on the court, I am going to be suspended and severly limit my team’s chances of winning a championship.” I personally believe that Nash sold that foul to make it appear much harder than it was. Raja Bell approached Horry and instigated the conflict, and Suns players ran out on the court. I fail to see how that portion of the incident is anyone’s fault but the players that made that decision. Robert Horry didn’t run to the Suns bench and taunt Amare.

It was also brought up that Tim Duncan and Bruce Bowen came onto the court earlier in the game and that they too should be suspended. Remember the key word from above? Altercation. In the rule that comes into play here, players cannot leave the bench during an altercation. When Elson was undercut and TD and BB came onto the court there was no altercation. Elson didn’t jump up and start pushing or busting people in the face. No foul was called, the ball was inbounded and play resumed. At worst, the Spurs might have been hit with a T for having 7 guys on the floor, but to call for a suspension over that is a gross mis-interpretation of the rules and a horrible attempt at grasping for straws to try and even up the game after a bad decision by 2 Suns players.

While I think that having Amare and Diaw out makes for basketball that isn’t quite as exciting, you can’t let them play simply on that basis. It just wouldn’t be right and would show a gross inconsistency in the league that is already losing fans due to officials and other league non-sense.

As a Spurs fan I am definitely biased and if the roles were reversed I’d be pissed at my own players for losing their heads and charging onto the court and not the opposing team.