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NBA: No room for leeway

May 18, 2007 - Neil Rudel

The NBA is taking a lot of heat for the suspensions in the Phoenix-San Antonio series in which Suns' star Amare Stouadamire and fellow starter Boris Diaw were forced to sit out Game 5 -- won by the Spurs and enabling them to go up 3-2.
There's no question it was a borderline decision.
Let's go the videotape: After a hard foul in the waning seconds of Game 4 by Robert Horry took out Steve Nash, Stoudamire and Biaw left the bench. The NBA has clear suspension rules for such cases.
Now, people want to argue that the duo didn't leave the bench with intent to cause a fight and that you can't suspend a star for such an act in a key playoff game.
Maybe the league does need to rewrite its rule to soften it to include some discretion.
But when it does that, then it looks like it panders to situations and stars.
And that's not necessarily right, either.
The NBA has to err on the side of strong rules because it wasn't long ago it had a fight in the stands and had players swinging chairs.
Those kinds of precedents don't leave commissioners much room for leeway.
My dad's Preakness pick must be relegated to because his Derby pick -- NoBiz Like Showbiz -- never got a call.
So tread at your own risk. Dave Rudel says, "I think Street Sense will win, but since I never like to pick the favorite, try Hard Spun. It's a smaller field so I think if somebody is going to upset Street Sense, it will be in the Belmont, a longer race."

My dad's advice is tempored by his other advice: "Save your money."


Kudos to Cory Giger on Thursday's column chastizing the Curve for not playing while awaiting two hours for an alleged threat of rain to pass. Such a move, which has happened before, is unfair to the fans.

The Curve have the best groundskeeper, grounds crew and field in all of minor league baseball -- honored accordingly many times over.

Trust your system, fellas.


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