Decided lack of class…

18 05 2008

The big news of the day at the moment is Robert Horry’s shot on David West. I made a brief comment on it, but have found myself dragged into several discussions on several other blogs. To get my thoughts collated, putting them down here as well.

Firstly, let’s get one thing out: I don’t think Robert Horry’s a dirty player. For the longest time, he was a player I regarded as ‘classy’.
I do think that he’s committed 1 dirty play (the hit on Nash), and one hit that whilst not egregiously dirty, did have the intent of putting some pain on David West. The end result might just be that rather than be remembered for his numerous rings (7 and counting) and his big shots in championship runs, he will be remembered for two questionable hits. “Big Shot” has become “Cheap Shot”… and no matter which side of the fence you fall on, that is simply inevitable.

I don’t think that the play was overly dirty of itself. Whilst if a player leans into a pick, it is a moving screen… there’s nothing out of the ordinary in that. Watch any NBA game, and you’ll see moving screens all the time.
But the intent was there to cause pain, or as another blogger has stated, “to send a message”. Without a doubt, there was intent.

Firstly – David West.

  1. The game before he’d scored 38 points and amassed 14 rebounds, and been a major factor in the Hornets winning the game.
  2. He has a bad back.

If you think that the San Antonio coaching staff weren’t well aware of both those facts then you’re simply kidding yourself. If you think that the same coaching staff didn’t give a direction to place a few hard plays on West, then you’re being obtuse. I’m not saying that they said “hurt the guy”, I am saying that they said “don’t be afraid to put a body on West… send him a message”. And all & sundry involved knew about David West’s bad back.

Now that ‘message’ being sent basically isn’t a message at all unless there’s some sort of pain. Did Robert Horry intend for David West to be writhing in pain on the floor?
Hell no.
Did he mean to hit David West and cause pain?
You betcha.

All goes back to the San Antonio Spurs, and Gregg Popovich. “Black Ops” plays (Bruce Bowen?) are nothing new to San Antonio. It’s about all the input Robert Horry has these days, and if he gets suspended? No major hit to the roster.
Sad that it’s come to this.
Whichever ‘shot’ you think belongs with his name, Robert Horry can no longer lay claim to the appellation ‘classy’.

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7 responses

19 05 2008
FLUXLAND

Black Ops, ha? Where did you read that? ;p

19 05 2008
Sportsattitude

I don’t think Horry can be classified as a dirty player. This incident could probably be classified as a dirty play, but I think he’s been found “more” criticized via being on the same team as Bowen more than the play itself. Yes, it appears the intent was there to focus on a player’s known “weakness” and it was mean-spirited. But Horry’s entire body of work does not lean towards being mentioned as a thug. Hey, preying on the opposition’s injuries occurs in all sports.

19 05 2008
withmalice

As I said, just committed two questionable acts. And on his entire body of work, he’s done a lot of damage to his own legacy as a player – in just two acts of less-than-admirable play.

19 05 2008
FeetinthePaint

Let me be brief, as I don’t want to drag our debate over from another blog…

Sending a message doesn’t have to have a “pain” connotation. Maybe I am being obtuse but you don’t need to lay timber to “send a message.”

Secondly, I agree with sportsattitude in that preying on opposition’s injuries does happen. As I referenced elsewhere, the Hornets ran Ginobili off of screens all day during the first couple games to test his ankle. I don’t think one play on West’s back turns Horry and Pop into Mussolini and the Black Hand.

Were the Spurs kneeing and elbowing West’s back throughout the game? No. Did they maybe talk about getting physical with him? Sure. He went off in the game prior and he’s a baller.

Did Horry mean to cause pain? Maybe — but it’s besides the point. West was jumping, trying to deflect a driving Ginobili’s pass. Was Horry supposed to say “oh, Mr. West, I know your back’s bothering you. I wouldn’t want to muddy my reputation by not setting a proper screen.”

It’s a non-issue if this weren’t the Spurs and the guy setting the screen weren’t Robert Horry. And if there’s obviously malicious intent in Pop’s heart, why not let Matt Bonner or even Ime Udoka make the “hit.” Robert Horry? I don’t even wanna play the hearsay game but who in their right mind would allow Horry to execute a so-called dirty hit?

19 05 2008
FeetinthePaint

Brief, huh? My bad, Don, but cheers.

19 05 2008
withmalice

No problems at all.

And that’s the thing – it’s not

“…one play on West’s back turns Horry and Pop into Mussolini and the Black Hand.”

it’s been an ongoing state of play for the San Antonio Spurs.
As you state yourself: for better or for worse, the Spurs, and Robert Horry have a reputation for this.
And you just have to ask yourself: why is this so?
During the ill-fated Suns series last season, if Ginobli & Bowen had been suspended (deservedly so) early in the series, the oh-so-dirty-hit on Nash doesn’t occur at all.
Bowen’s been blurring the line between fair-play and downright malicious for a good many seasons now… San Antonio’s reputation has been ‘silver & black’ for just as long.
Do you really, really, truly believe that Horry had no idea who it was, and no idea what the end result might be? C’mon… who are you foolin’? Of course he’s aware – on both counts.

I’d also suggest that without the hard-edged, walk-the-line brand of basketball that San Antonio now plays, they don’t compete at any where near the level that the other top teams in the West are playing.

19 05 2008
FeetinthePaint

I think the difference in our opinions lie on whether Horry’s awareness of West’s back issue matters.

I really don’t think it matters. Strip it down, contextually, from the fact that’s it the Spurs and Horry or that West had a somewhat bum back. Does the play still lack class? The play called for a screen on West, bad back or not.

Even strip it down, contextually, from the game itself. I honestly don’t think the play was dirty. And I know you concede that point — but to me, regardless of Horry’s motive, it’s a smart play.

If I’m playing pick-up and someone is hedging (for lack of better term) hard on a driving teammate approaching the cup, I won’t roll out or side-step to move out of the play. Split-second and what do I do? I make one play: a screen to free up a creative finisher.

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