Will Amare miss Game 5?

I think we, as Knick fans, have a particularly interesting view of this situation, as we saw the 1996-97 season go down the drain when Patrick Ewing, Allan Houston, Larry Johnson and John Starks all left the bench during PJ Brown’s altercation with Charlie Ward, leading to the players getting suspended for Game 6 (Ewing and Houston) and Game 7 (Johnson and Starks).

So, will the NBA give the same stiff punishment to Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw? Or will they hide behind the silly explanation that “it wasn’t a real fight, so it doesn’t count.”? Or will they just say, “The rule is dumb, so we’re just not going to follow it?”

Rod Thorn made the call 10 years ago, but it is Stu Jackson’s call now – what do you think he will do?

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21 thoughts to “Will Amare miss Game 5?”

  1. I think I heard 1 game for Stoudemire/Diaw and 2 for Horry.

    There’s just no way the NBA couldn’t hit those two with a game, and D’Antoni seemed to be resigned to it last night.

    I’m not a “letter of the law” guy, but a game for Stoudemire and Diaw is actually keeping in the spirit of the rule. It’s an anti-escalation rule. The whole point is to keep ignition and fuel as far apart as possible. Therefore the league has to deter extra bodies from wandering over to, much less sprinting to, an area of conflict lest someone say the magic words and then things escalate.

    The loss is obviously disproportionately bad for Phoenix–in game 5. SA will REALLY miss “big shot Rob” in game 6. As we saw with Stackhouse last year, you cannot miss a game this time of year. There’s no time to shake off rust.

  2. It’s funny, Dave, I figured I’d hold off on a piece until the decision came – and the decision just wouldn’t come all day long!!

    Finally, I actually put up a piece on it – and the decision comes right after the piece goes up. :)

  3. the purpose of the rule is to deter a player from leaving the bench so the refs can focus on controlling the ten players on the court. However in this instance Amare and Diaw left the bench and the fight did not escalate so there is no real need to suspend them. The most overlooked aspect to the altercation and the suspensions is that the camera angle is going to dictate that no player from SA will be suspended because theres no video proving a player left the bench. The whole team could have left the bench. The rule is absurd.

  4. the rule is fine, but there needs to be better judgment by the league on specific cases. it was absurd when the Heat were given the series in 1997, and it’s absurd now. this will be the second consecutive seriously tainted NBA championship, it just got a little tougher to care about the NBA.

  5. Duncan was on the court during an “altercation” with Jones and Oberto earlier in game 4. He was as close to joining any fight as Amare and Diaw were so he should be suspended too.

    Another issue I have with this is simply that Amare and Diaw left the bench before any altercation had started. They were just checking on Nash and then noticed saw Bell and Horry tangled up and Nash running at Horry. Diaw didn’t even move in their direction at that point, and Amare took a step at most before the coaches sent him back.

  6. I think every Knick fan knows what the Phoenix fans are feeling right now. I still have nightmares about that Miami series.

  7. When this happened all I could think about was ’97. During the debate afterward about whether suspensions should be handed out or not, all I could think about was how angry I would be if they bailed out the Suns, when they screwed the Knicks with no vaseline 10 years ago. At least they’re consistent.

    The rule is fine and it’s there for a reason, but it probably shouldn’t be hard and fast. If it’s clear a player leaves the bench to join a fracas, then a suspension is in order, but if you’re leaving the bench to get a better look and you’re just standing around all the way at the other end of the court like Ewing was in that Heat series, then the punishment doesn’t really fit the crime.

    It’s unfortunate for Phoenix that they had some key guys suspended, but they’re getting a hell of a lot more sympathy than the Knicks did back then when everybody hated them.

    That ’97 team was really good too. They had a real chance to beat the Bulls, but I’m not sure the league was going to let that happen anyway.

  8. If a player leaves the bench to join in an altercation, then by all means suspend him. Neither of these guys even got within spitting distance of the Spurs.

    I wouldn’t be angry if the League didn’t punish Amare and Diaw despite what happened in ’97. It would show that they learned from their mistakes in the past.

  9. What I don’t understand is why the media’s focus in all this is on the “stupidity” of the rule or on the rigidity of the league (and Stu Jackson) on enforcing the letter of the laww rather than the spirit of the law. Every single player knwos of the rule that you can’t leave the bench during a fracas. Its been enforced many many times. Assistant coaches are trained in the art of restraining any wayward players to avoid such violations of the rule. So its not like this rule is obscure. IMO the fault lies on the players who knowingly violated rule and not on the league for enforcing it.

  10. The focus is on the League because really didn’t do anything stupid. They were off the bench before there was an altercation and were initially only going to check on Nash. They didn’t rush off the bench to join in the fight…Amare walked over to Nash before he did anything else, and Diaw was behind all of the assistants and never had to be restrained.

    And the League did not punish Duncan for the same thing.

    There are all kinds of grey areas. What constitutes and altercation? Why was Bell/Horry and altercation but Jones/Oberto wasn’t? And the rules state that a player can’t be on the floor during an altercation…what happens if they are already out there when guys start swinging at each other? Is that an automatic suspension? With that many grey areas, you can’t be so rigid with it, and you go with whether or not the players in question violated the spirit of the rule.

  11. The appropriate thing to do would be to suspend the players for the first game(s) of next season.

    My problem with the ruling is that it sends a clear message to the Suns: Knock the cr@p out of the Spurs. Send bench players in to hip-check Tony Parker over the scorers’ table. Send in Jalen Rose to foul Manu Ginobili into the basket support.

    If Horry gets 2 games, and Amare and Boris each get one – then their fouls were equal. Two guys who didn’t do anything but leave their seats are as guilty as a guy who purposely and unnecessarily gives a guy half his size a forarm shiver into the sidelines.

    If I’m the Phoenix Suns ownership, management, coaches, players, or fans – I have no problem with making this series as dirty as David Stern can possibly swallow. Phoenix has bench players who never see the light of day – and they should all be in throughout the game, delivering devastating blows to Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, and Bowen. When in Rome, get as dirty as the Romans.

  12. I think it’s hilarious that after this Stern decided not to attend game 5. He probably knew a Suns fan would take a swing at him.

  13. It’s a bad rule, just like the “Tuck Rule” in the NFL, but you just can’t change it in midstream. It’s something you can only look at in the offseason, it would be unfair to every team and player that has been punished by the rule for them to just turn around and say “Okay, we screwed up, we’ll let it slide this time”. I know for years the NBA has been maddeningly inconsistent with regards to officiating, but they’ve almost always been consistent when it comes to enforcement of rules like this one.

    As I said before, it’s unfortunate for Phoenix, but they’re going to have to play through it. I think they can win this game without Stoudamire and Diaw anyway.

    I do find it funny that I haven’t really heard much mention of that Knicks-Heat series with regards to this issue, I guess people have short memories or are too young to remember. I also recall that outside of NYC there was no outrage, it was treated as “the Knicks got what they deserved”.

  14. I was age 12 and completely inconsolable.

    For the rest of my life I will always look back at that moment as the first time I realized that we do not live in a just and fair world.

  15. Hey, does anyone have a good link to details about what actually happened during the Knicks/Heat game?

    It’s been ten years, so I question my memory – I’m trying to recall exactly who were the five Knicks who were on the court.

    Also, wasn’t there a funny thing where Oakley managed to avoid getting suspended because he had already been ejected from the game?

    The only DECENT description I’ve found is at a Heat website, whose descriptions are pretty hilarious, really – but not much in the way of matching reality.

  16. Here is what I can drag up from my hazy memories of that time period:

    PJ Brown bodyslams Ward. Everybody from both teams wants to get involved, but because this was in front of the Heat bench officials managed to prevent most of their players from joining in. With no one to really hold them back, the Knicks all rushed the floor and there were roughly 152 suspensions as a result.

    I may have slightly exaggerated the suspensions, but only slightly.

  17. That’s very helpful, xduckshoex, thanks.

    Still, though, I really am wondering – who the heck were the 5 Knicks on the court at the time of the incident then?

    John Wallace
    Charlie Ward
    Probably Chris Childs

    But who were the other two players?

    I know Buck Williams was on the bench, and I am pretty sure Herb Williams was, too (as Buck Williams held one player back, I think it was Herb, because Buck knew about the rule, as he was on the Trailblazers when they lost players due to the rule).

    But WAS Oakley on the court then? And even if Oakley was, who ELSE would be on the court? Scott Brooks? Walter McCarthy?

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