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If you’re an NBA fan, you should’ve realized by now that the commissioner David Stern will do anything to improve the marketing aspect of the league. Anything that could help the image of the NBA will be done if necessary. Even if that means letting things go off of the hook in order to allow the best match ups in the future.
This case can be made for the recent situation that occurred in Game 4 in Atlanta in Game of the 1st round match up between the Atlanta Hawks and the Boston Celtics. After taking an obvious elbow from Kevin Garnett, Zaza Pachulia had his beef with Garnett and got in his face to let him know what’s up. After everything was close to being broken up, Garnett finally decided to get tough after the altercation was just about over and attempted to make his way back to Pachulia which is when he started getting held back by the official, Ed Rush. The mindset of Garnett may have been blocked out by his own self because the adrenaline possibly got to his head, which may have caused him to rip Rush’s arms off of him and clearly shove him out of the way. To top it off, Celtics center Kendrick Perkins, clearly took a couple of steps off of the bench and he looked to be walking further out until one of the coaches held him back from going any further. The same came from the other side with Atlanta, when Marvin Williams had his foot on the floor. The difference between Williams and Perkins was that Williams only had his momentum moving him onto the floor unlike Perkins, who clearly looked as if though he was planning on stepping further if his coach weren’t to hold him back.
Now with David Stern in attendance of this game, the look on his face looked as if he might take at least a little bit of action and at least bring some discipline among somebody out on the court. But who would be the one to receive the consequences?
Well, Pachulia didn’t do anything deserving of consequences as all he did was basically stick up for his team by letting Garnett know that he wasn’t going to be throwing out those cheap shots to his team. Garnett didn’t do anything wrong when he exchanged words with Pachulia, even though he may have been wrong for throwing the elbow which started the whole situation. The main thing that he was wrong for is shoving the official out of the way in order to escalate the situation that was going on out on the floor.
Other questions that may be asked is if Williams or Perkins made a bad choice by barely stepping out onto the floor. No, they weren’t wrong for doing that because as a player, there are a few things running through your head if you see something like that…break it up, go out and stand up for your team or try and sit back so you don’t get into trouble. Most of the time, the first and second scenarios are mainly chosen by players. There is definitely nothing wrong with that either because a lot of people think that way. The problem came from the office of David Stern.
The first issue with Garnett shoving the official out of the way to escalate the beef on the court was looked at without a problem. Garnett doesn’t receive any consequences for it. Whether it’s because he is a highly respected player in the NBA, or the “referee wasn’t harmed in the shoving”, it’s hard to see that situation and hit Garnett with a suspension or at least a fine. But yet in the previous game when rookie Al Horford showed his (dis)respect for Paul Pierce by yelling at him while he was on the ground, Pierce walks towards the Atlanta bench and throws up some type of symbol that nobody knows except Pierce and he’s fined for it. Pierce stated that it stood for Blood, Sweat and Tears. I thought he was throwing up a 3, just basically telling Horford that it was only Game 3. Whatever it was, Pierce was fined and he apologized for it telling the NBA that he is not for promoting any type of gang violence. I thought that this was unnecessary.
Garnett is let off the hook, but the other issue involves with what happened with Marvin Williams and Kendrick Perkins. The rule in the NBA states that if any player leaves their bench in order to address an altercation on the court, they will receive some type of discipline. We saw what happened in last years playoffs when Steve Nash was shoved into the scorers table by Robert Horry in the Western Conference Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Phoenix Suns. Amare Stoudamire and Boris Diaw were both suspended for stepping off of the bench after the situation started getting heated within a matter of seconds. As many people believe, those suspensions heavily affected that series as Phoenix was without some key performers. When you look at when Perkins and Williams stepped out onto the floor, it is similar to what happened last year. With Diaw, he looked as if he was just taking momentous steps when the situation in Phoenix got hot; that looks exactly like what Marvin Williams did. But with Stoudamire last year, he looked like he wanted to address the situation with some sort of retaliation, whether it was exchanging words or whatever. That may not have been Kendrick Perkins’ EXACT intentions but his steps towards the situation looked as if he was looking to do something before he realized that he may have took one step too many and it could result in a disciplinary action.
Whether it’s just a lean off of the bench or intentions to take action in the situation, the NBA wasn’t consistent about it. Williams and Perkins should’ve been suspended for what they did, even if it was just an inch onto the court. Consistency is key for the NBA and they didn’t show it in this particular situation.
Let’s take a look at the shove Garnett gave to Ed Rush. Now tell me if that wasn’t somebody like Rasheed Wallace, Al Horford or even Stoudamire, they wouldn’t get suspended either? I highly doubt that they would be playing in the next game.
This puts a big question mark over the NBA and David Stern. [It’s obvious that he wants to see Boston and the Lakers in the NBA Finals and anything that could step in the way of that would break his heart.] I mean, who wouldn’t want to see that again? Boston and L.A. just like the good ol’ days. I can understand Stern’s motivation but all he is doing is raising more suspicion and losing respect for the NBA. When disciplinary action needs to be made, nothing should stop you from making those actions even if it requires you “ruining your dream” (Stern’s dream is to see L.A. and Boston in the Finals of you didn’t get that one). It’s hard to tell if it would’ve affected the outcome of the series anyways, but there is still a level of consistency that needs to be kept. With this situation, there wasn’t any shown at all.
But even with no suspensions made, the series went to 7 games which was something I’m sure we all didn’t expect to see. Stern’s dream may be crushed within the next round or so. Atlanta basically exposed Boston and the next two rounds can bring problems for the Celtics. For now, Stern is happy. As long as the Lakers keep rolling, his dream season may still be a possibility. I’m not gonna lie…I would love to see a Celtics-Lakers Finals because I wasn’t able to see it back in the old days. Who wouldn’t want to see it? But situations like this show how phony the NBA can get and then you have to question other things that go on around the league. Stern just lost some of the little respect I had for him, and probably not just from me. I’m pretty sure plenty of Atlanta fans are pissed as well. Stern still has his dream intact, but his integrity will always be questionable, at least to me.