I'm going to be honest. I'm a Warriors fan first and foremost, but as many of you know, we haven't been that good for a long time - until this year of course. But while we were slumming it up at the bottom of the NBA, I started watching the Suns as well. There's a reason for this. I grew up in the South Bay where Steve Nash helped an obscure Catholic university overachieve on the basketball court for 4 years. During his stint at Santa Clara, Nash helped knock off the #2 seed Arizona Wildcats in the first round of the 1993 NCAA Tournament. Not even those of us who watched Nash in college thought he be as good as he's become.
The Suns, for the last 3 seasons with Nash at the helm, have been the most exciting team to watch in the NBA. But they seem cursed. Back in the 2005 playoffs, it was Joe Johnson's broken face that hurt the Suns. Of course at the time, no one seemed that worried. Amare averaged 37 pts per game against Duncan in the Western Conference Finals that year, and even though the Suns lost in 5 to the Spurs, it seemed only a matter of time before they would win a championship.
Then Amare needed microfracture surgery and had to sit for the whole season. Nash and the Matrix stepped up and got it done. But in the Western Conference Finals, Raja Bell's calf exploded, keeping him out of Games 2 and 3. Who knows what the Suns could have done with Bell healthy.
Now this year, Nash gets a headbutt in Game 1 and the Suns trainers can't stop the bleeding, leaving the Suns without their most clutch player in the critical final moments of the game. And now, the ultimate low blow (and no, I'm not talking about Bowen's knee to Nash's groin). Amare and Diaw have both been suspended for a game. All of this as a result of a flagrant cheap shot by Robert "I'm averaging under 5 pts a game this series" Horry.
The point of the rule is to avoid fights breaking out and in this case, no fight happened. The NBA should realize that this antiquated rule was designed back in the days when fights were violent and rampant in the NBA. That's not the case anymore.
The rule doesn't even make sense in the whole construct of the playoffs so far. We've seen cheap shots by Baron Davis, Bowen and Mikki Moore. We've seen Jason Richardson take out Memhet Okur. All of these acts are worthy of a suspension, but none were handed out. Now you're going to give a suspension to a guy for leaving the bench when no punches get thrown? Totally irrational.
You're also sending a memo to everyone in the NBA that taking cheap shots at star players to goad key players off of the bench and get suspended is a legitimate tactic. Why not just have Pat Burke come into the game and deck Tony Parker in front of the Spurs bench? We might find a few Spurs getting suspended then for similarly illogical reasons.
Even worse, the NBA is sending a big slap in the face to the fans of the game, who don't want to see this epic series decided by an asshole sitting at a desk. That includes Spurs fans. Let 'em play for God's sake and settle it on the court.
So now we're subjected to the NBA basically gift-wrapping this series for the Spurs because of a trangression THEY were responsible for while the Suns get royally screwed. This is like taking the guy who beats up the purse snatcher to jail for assault while letting the robber go. A complete mockery of the justice system.
So here's my thought. If it's clear that the NBA doesn't care about the fans, likes to enforce a rule that makes NO sense, and has made a mockery of justice in this incident, then why even play the game? Robert Sarver, the current majority owner of the Suns, should tell David Stern to stick it where the sun don't shine and tell him the Suns won't play Game 5. I have no doubt that the people of Phoenix would rally around that cry seeing as they just wound up on the wrong side of one of the most uneven judgments in NBA history.
If Stern and Stu Jackson want to play hardball, fine. But I say now it's time for the Suns to do the same thing.