Nobody Asked for This

Whatever happened to "give the fans what they want?" Or "the customer is always right?"

The NBA, thanks to an iron-clad interpretation of a rule nobody has ever liked, has appeased... who? Who's happy about this? The Suns players, fans and coaches are understandably "disgusted." As far as I know the Spurs have made no official comment on the situation. They're not dumb enough to come out and say they agree with the decision and anything voiced to the contrary won't be believed anyway.

The Spurs have never been adored by the public. They've been always been best at what the public enjoys least. That, combined with a star player as engaging as stale bread that refuses to even mold, does not add up to being the team everybody roots for.

But now, seemingly overnight, the Spurs are public enemy #1. General sports fans, feeling robbed of what could have been a series of historic proportion and not being able to blame the true culprit (Stern and Jackson), will resort to championing the Suns as all that as good and the Spurs as thugs.

The Spurs have been cast as thugs. The Spurs. I don't even know the last time (before Monday night, of course) the Spurs were called for a flagrant foul. Since the dawn of the David Robinson era the Spurs have been notorious for being soft. But Bowen turns some loud ankles, Ginobili flops and the rumblings grow.

A stepped on heel, some public bitching and then a virtually inexplicable knee to the groin region. What was that, Bruce? Why fuel the fire?

And then Horry loses his cool and arm checks The Great White Symbol. An inexcusable cheap shot that leads to the unfortunate suspension of two vital Suns players. And with that the litmus paper has been turned and there's no going back. There's no pointing at Baron Davis' elbow to the head of Derek Fisher and questioning his free pass from the masses, no remembrance of a Raja Bell clothesline. The Spurs are thugs. The series is tainted and the indelible dye has been cast upon the post season. The only happy ending, the only way to clean this up is David casting down the Goliath and retaking his seemingly ill-gotten gains.

No matter the outcome tonight, the Spurs will walk away losers.

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