Well, well, well…The plot, which I didn’t think could be more thick than it already was, has thickened. The series that I am pretty sure nobody in Texas will soon forget has just taken the wildest turn yet, right?
Jason Terry has been bounced for Game 6. Here is Channel 4’s video which might be the best …
He made a mistake, and now he will pay. Do I think it was that big a deal? Of course, not. But let’s not forget a few things here:
The NBA has a very clear rule on punching …
M. PUNCHING, FIGHTING AND ELBOW FOULS
Violent acts of any nature on the court will not be tolerated. Players involved in altercations will be ejected, fined and/or suspended. Officials have been instructed to eject a player who throws a punch, whether or not it connects, or an elbow which makes contact above shoulder level. If elbow contact is shoulder level or below, it shall be left to the discretion of the official as to whether the player is ejected. Even if a punch or an elbow goes undetected by the officials during the game, but is detected during a review of a videotape, that player will be penalized. There is absolutely no justification for fighting in an NBA game. The fact that a player may feel provoked by another player is not an acceptable excuse. If a player takes it upon himself to retaliate, he can expect to be subject to appropriate penalties.
And. Jason Terry has a “repeat offender” track record …
The NBA suspended Jason Terry (Atl) for 1 game for the elbow he threw at Anthony Johnson (Ind) during Saturday's Atl-Ind game.
The NBA fined Jason Terry (Atl) $10,000 and suspended him for 1 game and fined Don Reid (Orl) $7,500 and suspended him for 1 game for their fight during Monday's Atl-Orl game.
The NBA fined Kenny Thomas (Hou) $15,000 and suspended him for 3 games and fined Shareef Abdur-Rahim (Atl) $15,000 and suspended him for 3 games for their fight in Monday's Hou-Atl game. Jason Terry (Atl) was also fined $7,500 and suspended for 1 game for throwing a punch during the altercation.
Put that together, and he has to take the blame here. I don’t like it. I would like to think the NBA would exercise some judgment about severity of the punch and that they would consider what that could do to the outcome of the series, but the bottom line is that YOU CANNOT THROW A PUNCH. Cannot. Under any circumstance. They had the right to suspend him. And Terry is to blame for giving them that right by throwing a punch.
Terry’s taking the blame partially because he has no other choice …
Terry's close-fisted jab into the groin area of former teammate Michael Finley late in Game 5 may or may not have been a letter-of-the-law punch. The NBA said it was, and Terry will be a fan tonight as the riveting series continues.
There is no doubt Terry's action was the sort of mistake that can make a difference in the outcome of a tight series. And Terry was quick to admit his error. He said he felt responsible for not being able to help his teammates and coach Avery Johnson in one of the biggest games in Mavericks history.
"I do, just for putting myself in this position," Terry said on his radio show on ESPN-FM (103.3) Thursday. Johnson "is real disappointed about the whole situation. We talked about it before the game, that whatever happens, don't let yourself get in a position like that."
Heat-of-the-moment situations are something all NBA players must deal with. Terry's suspension is proof that a lapse of control – however momentary it may be – can lead to a serious situation.
Johnson tells his players they must maintain a cool head at all times during games. When they don't, Johnson wastes no time letting them know about it. Johnson did not return telephone calls Thursday seeking comment.
Most coaches demand that players keep their composure. Yet mistakes like this still happen.
Blackistone says Cuban has earned this treatment …
The chicken came home to roost Thursday.
How else to explain the sudden unexpected suspension of starting guard Jason Terry for tonight's Game 6? The league announced late Thursday afternoon that it was benching Terry for punching Michael Finley during a scrum with seconds left in Game 5.
Finley was unusually agitated after the grappling. Terry wasn't assessed a foul on the play. No one seemed to see anything unseemly happen. A jump ball was called.
But the Spurs went Cuban on the Mavericks sometime after the game. They sent a tape to the league office that showed Terry landing a punch to Finley's groin.
It was an easy decision for league disciplinarian Stu Jackson, who earlier in this postseason tossed Miami's Udonis Haslem for a game for angrily throwing his mouthpiece in the direction of an official.
Cuban, not surprisingly, disagreed with Jackson's penalty. A fine was due, he said, but not a suspension.
Oh, well. Live by Netflix, die by Netflix.
Cuban isn't the only NBA team boss who sends the league office tape. He's just made his team one of the biggest exercisers of the practice.
David Moore on the scene …
What Terry did has nothing to do with his basketball IQ. It has everything to do with losing his cool. He can only hope the Mavericks bail him out the way the Suns did Raja Bell in the first round.
Bell clotheslined Kobe Bryant and threw him to the floor during the team's first-round series with the Los Angeles Lakers. Bell was suspended for Game 6. The Suns responded by winning that game and the next to win the series.
The difference here: The Spurs are a lot better than the Lakers.
The speed of point guard Devin Harris has tipped the scales in the Mavericks favor so far this series. But the Mavericks need Terry's presence to maximize that advantage.
San Antonio entered this series with its defensive sights set on Nowitzki and Terry. It was that focus on Terry that gave Harris the room to score 20 and 24 points in his first two games as a starter. When Harris forced the Spurs to adjust, Terry responded with 32 points in Game 4.
The Mavericks have three options: put Adrian Griffin back in the starting lineup, slip Marquis Daniels into the starting five or go with Jerry Stackhouse. None of those options are as attractive, or effective, as a backcourt of Terry and Harris.
Terry's absence doesn't mean the Mavericks will lose tonight's game. His team can still deliver a knockout punch to the defending world champions.
But they'd better aim higher than Terry did in Game 5 to get it done.
Buck Harvey in San Antonio …
Going by the video, Terry threw the punch with a closed fist, too. And everyone in the league knows the rules. It's part of the code of conduct, and the guidelines are clear. Suspension follows.
Terry lost his senses, and he did a year ago in a simple basketball play in the Phoenix series. Then, he left Steve Nash open for a 3. This time, instead of going under a screen as he did then, Terry went under to hit Finley in a vital spot.
Terry, on his radio show Thursday night in Dallas, used words that would confuse a veteran politician. "That's totally unsportsmanlike," he said, "and something I wouldn't have done intentionally, if it did happen. For (Finley) to say I intentionally punched him in the groin or stomach, I don't think it happened that way."
Cuban believes this kind of dream-sequence explanation. "Jason didn't even know he did it," Cuban said.
I e-mailed Cuban with another question: No matter the details, isn't a punch with a closed fist always a suspension?
To his credit, Cuban got back to me in minutes. He asked me if I had seen the video, which I had, and he ended the e-mail with: "Throwing a punch is different than reacting with a closed fist when you are the bottom of a pileup. (Terry) couldn't rip a piece of paper from that situation with a fist."
The Mavericks have their work cut out for them. The Mavericks have to play without one of their best players. Deal with it. Circle the Wagons. Win one for Terry. Or don’t. Just win one.
For inspirational purposes, and with a small amount of poetic license, here is Braveheart: …
Wallace: Sons of Scotland (Dallas), I am William Wallace (Dirk Nowitzki).
Young soldier: William Wallace (Dirk Nowitzki) is 7 feet tall.
Wallace: Yes, I've heard. Kills men by the hundreds, and if he were here he'd consume the English (Spurs) with fireballs from his eyes and bolts of lightning from his arse. I am William Wallace (Dirk Nowitzki). And I see a whole army of my countrymen here in defiance of tyranny. You have come to fight as free men, and free men you are. What would you do without freedom? Will you fight?
Veteran soldier: Fight? Against that? No, we will run; and we will live.
Wallace: Aye, fight and you may die. Run and you'll live -- at least a while. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom (Series)!!!
Wallace and Soldiers: Alba gu bra! (Scotland (Mavericks) forever!)
I know there is plenty more to write about: The Champions League Final, The Rangers, Amazing Race, The Clippers, The NHL Final 4, and everything else. Sorry. I am too focused. Game 6 tonight.
Beat SA. And Feel Free to Boo them all.