Friday, June 18, 2010
You Can't Call (or Arrest) Them All
Good to see that LA's Finest is taking the most dangerous, hard core Laker fans bent on destruction off the streets.
These gals may look like your run-of-the-mill poseur fans who can't name any Laker from the pre-Shaq era, but don't be fooled. These are the ringleaders of this mayhem.
Arresting these kind of Laker fans, is like calling the touch foul on a non-star late in the game. It looks good on paper. But is largely pointless.
The reason Game 7 was such a eye-melting, wrenching, inartful affair, is that each team got the message early on from Joey and Danny Crawford's crew: "We're going to let you guys play."
Let this be a lesson anytime somebody on sports radio wails: "There's too many whistles! Just let these guys play!"
This is what happens.
40-34 at halftime.
Kobe Bryant was getting bodied, muscled, and jostled for the entire first quarter by Ray Allen and Company. You can call it "good defense" if you want. I call it fouling.
In the end, only one guy got fouled out of last night's game: Rasheed. And truthfully, you could have fouled him out twice if you actually called every time he head-clobbered guys like Gasol in the paint.
For the series, only two players fouled out of games. Rasheed and Artest. Two noted hotheads/defensive irritants, who are not considered "protected" stars of the NBA marketing pantheon.
I'm not advocating 3-4 foul-outs per game. But if there is essentially no risk of a player fouling out, the result is predictable.
Because Pat Riley was the first to really figure it out: they can't call every foul. So foul more, if you are deficient in offensive talent. The advantage will swing to your team.
Riley's protege, Jeff Van Gundy, continued the practice when he coached the Knicks. And as much as I like his TV work, Van Gundy was positively nuts when he said he thinks the NBA should do away entirely with the "foul out" rule.
Go ahead, and give that a try. I'm willing to bet fouling will not stay static. And I'm willing to bet my house, the fouling will not go DOWN!
The NBA could, and should, be a high flying, free flowing, much more open affair. It should not be WWE Wrestling.
But you would have to be dedicated to rolling back allowable contact between defender and ballhandler to at least early 1980's levels. And you can't do that at once. Because that WOULD relegate games to 70 free throw whistle-fests.
Sure, the players would figure it out and adjust. But the transition would be painful and ugly.
Like a lawn that has been overtaken by weeds, you could just nuke the weeds with broadleaf kill and essentially start over. But then you'd have dirt for the better part of a full summer.
The NBA needs to start strategically thinning out and reducing it's weeded lawn of fouling instead. So that "good defense" can once again become just that, and fouls are fouls.
There is a difference, and as fans, we aren't too stupid to know the difference.
If that means, god forbid, a star player getting his 6th foul and hitting the bench with the better part of the 4th quarter still remaining, so be it.
One of the notable images in Bullets fans minds, is the conclusion of the 1978 NBA Finals, where the Dick Motta led Bullets actually beat the Seattle Supersonics in their house, in a Game 7!
If you watch those closing moments, as the Fat Lady officially began to sing, you'll see star center/forward Elvin Hayes run onto the court to celebrate in his warm-up suit.
Yes, he had fouled out of that game. Can you imagine if that was Kobe?
So yeah, hot Laker chicks who dare to look at a cop sideways, will get hauled downtown, just like Big Baby Davis will get a foul called when his abundant fat so much as grazes another player.
The rest is just a free for all.