The NBA has ruled that Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw will be suspended for Game 5 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals against the Suns, for leaving the bench during an altercation between Steve Nash and Robert Horry.
Congratulations to the Stu Jackson and Davis Stern, who just practically handed the series to the San Antonio Spurs. Now, the Spurs WILL win the next game, unless they play the most horrible basketball they have ever played in a decade, and Suns take advantage of it. With Stoudemire and Diaw gone, the Suns lose two players who are in their core seven-man rotation. Not only that, but the Suns lose their leading scorer in Stoudemire. Another factor is the defensive assignment on Tim Duncan. Diaw and Stoudemire were two of the three players who are assigned to defend Tim Duncan.
So what do the Suns have left for Game 5?
- Steve Nash, Shawn Marion, Leandro Barbosa, Raja Bell, Kurt Thomas, and James Jones.
- No one but Kurt Thomas to guard Tim Duncan, which will now force Shawn Marion to do so as well.
- The burden of having to make up for the lost scoring load that Stoudemire shouldered.
- Fatigue: They're left with a 6-man rotation.
- Robert "Over the Hill" Horry suspended.
- Tim Duncan will score 60 points.
Nice going Stu. Stoudemire and Diaw were 50 feet away from the altercation, and how would you know they were rushing in to the altercation to escalate the situation? Are they not allowed to go in and check if Steve Nash, their captain and leader, was fine? If Robert Horry was pounding Steve Nash in to a pulp, are the players expected to just sit and watch? What happened to the team concept where you defend each other? I guess the NBA is discouraging camaraderie.
On the other hand, I admire the Spurs' tactics. You've got to admire their brilliance. What a strategy! Here's how it goes: Send in a role-player, instead of a bench-warmer (just so it doesn't become too obvious), and ask him to take out the opposing team's star player in front of their bench and hope that the other team reacts and commit actions that may merit suspensions, and all the preceding team would lose is the role-player. Genius. 'Coach of the Year' should be handed to Popovich NOW, and the 'Most Valuable Player' should be stripped from Dirk and awarded to Robert Horry, along with the 'Most Defensive Player' since he just cost the Suns 24 points for the next game.
That was pathetic. The fate of the playoffs has been decided, and we are doomed to eternal boredom for the final two ladders of the playoffs.
Great job, San Antonio.
So what can the Suns do now? I'm hoping to see Jalen Rose get some piece of the action. Then we'll see if he still performs at a high level (maybe contribute 15 points and 7 rebounds if possible) despite his career hitting a brick wall. If they'll move Shawn Marion deeper in the post, then maybe we'll get to see Marcus Banks try to earn the money he's being paid for his crazy contract. I'm sensing Sean Marks and Pat Burke though to help out on Tim Duncan. Anything goes in this situation now for the Suns.