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Basketball Formalism:

Michael Dorf discusses the NBA's Version of the Hart-Fuller Debate and Basketball Formalism.

JosephSlater (mail):
A fun topic for folks in the legal biz who also follow the NBA. As a Pistons fan, I have no dog in this fight, but I agree with Charles Barkley that the Suns got hosed.
5.16.2007 3:23pm
Hattio (mail):
How did the Suns get hosed? Did Amare and Diaw get suspended?
5.16.2007 5:49pm
bornyesterday (mail) (www):

How did the Suns get hosed? Did Amare and Diaw get suspended?


Yes, 1 game suspension each. For Horry as well, of course
5.16.2007 6:51pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Horry actually got a two-game suspension, but the Spurs definitely got the better of that, with Amare and Diaw out for the game that will likely cost the Suns home court advantage.

It's a fun "literal text of the rule vs. purpose and intent of the rule" question, but it is sad for the Suns. While all sorts of things can still happen in the playoffs, the Spurs now must be considered the favorite to win game 5 of the Spurs-Suns series, and thus the Spurs are the favorites to win that series; the winner of the Spurs-Suns series will be the favorite to win the West (no disrespect, Utah, but it's true); and the winner of the West will be the favorite in the NBA finals -- and a dominant favorite if my beloved Pistons wind up losing to the Bulls, thus making some team other than Detroit the Eastern champs.
5.16.2007 8:17pm
ray_g:
This is just the NBA version of a stupid "zero-tolerance" policy. I was watching that game, and saw the incident in real time. If they left the "bench area" (and exactly how is that defined?), it wasn't by a lot, and they retreated very quickly when the assistant coaches shouted at them. No one from either bench joined the altercation, and in fact there wasn't much of an altercation. I give kudos to the referees, assistant coaches, and players with cooler heads for keeping things from getting out of hand. If there was ever a place where "no harm, no foul" applied, the actions of those two Suns players is the place.
5.17.2007 2:37pm
JosephSlater (mail):
I agree completely with ray_g.

Last night, the undermanned Suns gave a good effort but lost game 5 by three points. Again, I'm a Pistons fan with no dog in this fight. But if the Suns go on to lose this series, there will be many neutral NBA fans like myself who will think the Suns got hosed out of a very decent shot at the NBA title by this ruling.
5.17.2007 2:57pm