The NBA has a difficult call to make that could alter the NBA championship race. Indiana Pacers guard George Hill and Atlanta Hawks forward Mike Scott got into a staring-then-shoving contest during the first half of the Pacers’ 95-88 Game 6 victory in Atlanta. Their actions drew technical fouls, but in the heat of their showdown, Pacers star Paul George and backup Rasual Butler — who were both not in the game — made small steps onto the court. They remained near the bench. The fact that they got up off of the bench is the problem.
“During an altercation, all players not participating in the game must remain in the immediate vicinity of their bench,” the NBA rulebook says. “Violators will be suspended, without pay, for a minimum of one game and fined up to $50,000.”
The question we all are dying to know is if it will be enforced for the Pacers vs. Hawks game on saturday.
“The rule with respect to leaving the bench area during an altercation is very clear,” Stu Jackson, then the NBA’s executive vice president of basketball operations, said of the ruling in 2007. “Historically, if you break it, you will get suspended, regardless of what the circumstances are. This is a very unfortunate incident but the rule is the rule. It’s not a matter of fairness. It’s a matter of correctness, and this is the right decision.”
The decision now will come down to Rod Thorn, the president of basketball operations and chief disciplinarian.