Well, well, well...Robert Horry's late-game shoulder block sure blew the lid off of Pandora's Box, didn't it? So what's going to happen now? Will Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw be suspended for Game 5, effectively handicapping the Suns in a must-win situation? It's been pointed out over at TrueHoop (among other places) that the NBA rules stipulate that players cannot leave the bench during a fight...but there wasn't a fight. Just a hard foul and some harsh words. So the final decision should be a simple one: only Cheap Shot Bob should be suspended.
But nothing's ever simple, and the NBA has another image problem on its hands. Many thanks to reader Arif Rahman for bringing to this little tidbit from Steve Kerr's Yahoo column to my attention:
"However, if the league decides to suspend Diaw and Stoudemire, it may have to suspend Tim Duncan and Bruce Bowen as well. In a play that went entirely unnoticed until well after the game was over, both Duncan and Bowen actually left San Antonio's bench early in the second quarter after Francisco Elson and James Jones were entangled. Replays clearly show Duncan walking several steps onto the court as Elson and Jones appeared to be ready to get into it. Bowen then followed Duncan onto the floor, grabbed him and led him back to the bench. If the league does indeed follow the letter of the law, both Spurs players would also be suspended for Game 5."
So there you have it. The NBA must choose whether to hand out (or not hand out) suspensions based either on the spirit of the law or the letter of the law. But if Stoudemire and Diaw get the hook for Game 5 and Duncan and Bowen don't...well, then that would be a pretty serious miscarriage of justice.
Random observation from Evil Ted: "How did the Spurs become the bad guys? Bruce Bowen, that's how. F**king 'foot defense.'"
Edit: Here's the video of Duncan and Bowen coming off the bench.