Thursday , May , 18 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Mavericks’ Jason Terry Suspended for Game Six

Being punished for a punch so discreet that it wasn’t even featured in the highlights is one thing, but it’s another entirely when the contest you have to sit out happens to be game six of a playoff series against the reigning NBA champions. Unfortunately for the Dallas Mavericks, the latter of these scenarios became reality today when Jason Terry was suspended by the league for smacking former Mav Michael Finley upside the head in the final seconds of last night’s thriller in San Antonio.

Terry and Finley jostled with 3.4 seconds left in San Antonio’s 98-97 victory on Wednesday night. Terry wound up on his back, grasping the ball, but Spurs forward Manu Ginobili got a hand on it, too, to force a jump ball.

While officials were trying to sort out who had possession, Finley was visibly angry and needing to be restrained by teammates. He appeared to be making a fist and telling his teammates that someone had punched him.

Nothing was called at the time. Neither team mentioned it during postgame interviews.

For a punch that apparently merited a suspension, surprisingly little is known about exactly what happened. I’m yet to speak to someone who saw anything but Finley’s reaction, and it’s evident that even the officials covering the play didn’t have a decent look at what went down.

Still, the league saw something and decided it was enough to put Jet in a suit for an elimination game, and there’s nothing that can be said or done to change it. That won’t stop Mark Cuban trying, though.

“Unbelievable,” Mavs’ owner Mark Cuban wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press. “Michael Finley does a pile driver with his hip to Jason’s head while he is on the ground. Jason is on his back with Ginobili laying on top of him.

“No question he tried to get Finley off of him and he should be fined for that. But to suspend him is questionable.”

Mavericks' Jason Terry Suspended for Game Six

If Cubes has admitted wrongdoing on Terry’s part, it’s likely that he deserved the punishment he was handed. Dirk could pull a knife out of his sock and stab someone on defence, and Cuban would call for a charge, then write a blog post questioning the league’s decision to upgrade the foul from a type-two flagrant to homicide.