So far, less than a round into these NBA playoffs, the suspension roll has gone thusly:
|Raja Bell: Brain cramp.|
Udonis Haslem, one game for tossing mouthpiece at referee Joey Crawford.
Ron Artest, one game for elbowing Manu Ginobili.
James Posey, one game for hard foul on Kirk Hinrich.
Jermaine O'Neal, $15,000 fine for (mild) criticism of referees.
Shaquille O'Neal, $25,000 fine for criticizing referees.
Rip Hamilton, $15,000 for elbowing Michael Redd in the head.
Reggie Evans, $10,000 for trying to rip out the paraphernalia of Chris Kaman.
Now you know why Raja Bell's needless takedown of Kobe Bryant late Tuesday night will surely amount to a one-game suspension for Game 6 of the Lakers-Suns series. And that means it's pretty much curtains for the Phoenix Suns, missing Kurt Thomas already and with Tim Thomas playing but limping on a bum knee. I don't see them able to stand another starter going down, especially the guy who's the primary defender on Bryant.
NBA disciplinarian Stu Jackson has been criticized for overstuffing the penalty box this playoff season. But Bell deserves no sympathy. The Suns had crawled back and grabbed a little life -- they were actually making 3-pointers when they needed them, were up by 14 with 7 1/2 minutes to go. Kobe Bryant was being controlled by Phoenix's smart double-teaming, the Suns were playing on-the-edge physical and frustrating the Lakers. After the way they frittered away Game 4 in L.A., after the bollocking Steve Nash had received the last couple days, after the video evidence of Kobe Bryant slaying them, it was about as much as they could have hoped for.
Then Bell went off. And reviewing the PVR evidence this morning, there appeared to be absolutely nothing that triggered it in the play immediately preceding. It was inexcusable.
Vaguely related NBA playoff note for Raptor fans:
Jamaal Magloire, who remains the apple of every message board eye as the answer to Toronto's never-ending problems in the middle, sounds like he's not about to return the affection:
The prevailing feeling is Bucks' center Jamaal Magloire wants to be traded to Toronto, where he grew up. But that's not the case, Magloire insists. Rather, he would like to remain with the Bucks.
"I like Larry, I like the Senator and I like the organization,'' Magloire said, referring to Bucks owner Herb Kohl and Bucks general manager Larry Harris. "That might have been true a couple years ago, but not anymore.''