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Robert Horry has had one of the most interesting careers in NBA history. He is one of those guys who has a knack for being at the right place at the right time. That is probably why he currently has 7 NBA Championships, and is currently working on number 8 with the San Antonio Spurs. Now many will write Horry off and say he was just lucky to be around and ride the coattails of great players (Hakeem, Kobe, Duncan). However, if you look at all of his championship runs, somewhere along the way, Horry has made an impact play to change a series. There is a reason why they call him Big Shot Bob. Yet in the last two seasons there, is something else Horry is becoming known for: dirty play.
Last season, the Spurs and the Suns were in a playoff series for the ages. Both teams were going at each other with everything they had and by game 5 it appeared the Suns may have had enough in the tank to take full control of the series and even make the NBA Finals. But all of that would change in a heartbeat. In the closing moments of the game, Robert Horry put a hip check on Steve Nash that would have made any NHL defenseman proud. Nash flew into the scorers table, the Suns bench cleared, they lost two of their starters for the next game, and Phoenix never rebounded. San Antonio would go on to dominate the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.
Fast forward one year and you find yourself in a very similar situation. Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals, the Hornets are on the road at San Antonio. The Spurs have the game in hand, and then Big Shot Bob lays the smack down on Hornets forward David West. A hard backscreen would send West to the floor in pain and put him out for the rest of the game. More importantly, West now has to rehab and heal his aching back before a game 7 on Sunday. Coming from someone who has played through back injuries, this quick turnaround an rehab is not an easy task. Don’t believe me? Ask Kobe how his back is feeling right now.
But here we are again: a hard foul and Robert Horry is right in the middle of it all. For me, Horry has yet to prove he is a dirty player. Both the hits on Nash and West were simply hard fouls. For Nash, his own momentum carried him into the scorers table. With West, it was just unlucky that he had a previously injured back. You can’t blame Horry for setting a backscreen on him.
Robert Horry is a veteran player who understands his role on his current team. If that means taking it back to the old school and setting a few hard picks, then I’m okay with that. It’s the playoffs and basketball is a contact sport. As long as he is not throwing punches, I say let him play.
Now that whole Hall of Fame talk for Robert Horry… I’ll leave that for another day.