Stern and Patrick go Bush and Rather
Did anyone catch the verbal melee between David Stern and Dan Patrick on The Dan Patrick Show on ESPN Radio? It was as contentious in its own way as the famous shouting match between Dan Rather and George HW Bush on the CBS Evening News. I heard it this afternoon driving in my car. Its easily the most animated I have ever heard the ubercommissioner get. Patrick was sort of baiting him, in much the same way Rather baited HW Bush back in 1989, but I was surprised that Stern took the bait. He's usually analytical and cool. Today he was sarcastic and biting ("Okay Dan, let me make a note of that" he said at one point). Very out of character for Stern. If you haven't heard the exchange, they will apparently play it on Sportscenter tonight. I can't remember it verbatim, and don't want to give you an inaccurate account.
As for the suspension issue itself, everyone's attacking Stern for ruining a great series, but I will come to his defense. The only thing that prevented Horry's hipcheck from becoming an ugly, ugly donnybrook... the only thing... was the threat of suspension brought on by the rule Stern felt compelled to enforce. There's no question about that in my mind.
If you watch the tape, when Stoudamire came off the bench, he wanted a piece of Horry in the worst way. You could see it. Had it not been for the harsh "don't leave the bench" blackletter rule, there is no way in hell those assistant coaches would have been able to hold him back. In fact, the only thing that held him back was his realization (and you can see the moment it occurs in his head because he starts backpedaling) that his actions could cost his team dearly. And they did. And that's why the rule's in place, and why Stern felt he had to uphold it, come what may.