Are you worried about the NBA's crackdown on complainers? Rasheed Wallace isn't the only one to feel the wrath of trigger-happy referees: Mike Bibby was tossed on Wednesday and Carmelo Anthony was tossed last night. In case you're keeping score at home, the Pistons, Kings and Nuggets each went on to lose those games.
So what's a fan to do? Well, you can sit at home and stew while watching your favorite player get the hook. Or you can sign a petition sponsored by Need4Sheed asking David Stern to relax the rules -- and, well, then sit at home and stew while watching your favorite player get the hook.
As anyone who's been a fan of the NBA for very long can tell you, David Stern simply doesn't flinch -- in another life, he probably would have been a Wild West gunslinger or a modern-day cage fighter -- so I'm guessing it'll be the players who'll have to relax. For most guys, it won't be too difficult. In the meantime, there will be a sharp learning curve where refs have far more impact on the game than anyone wants when they're forced to toss star players who still don't get it.
Eventually, though, the game will be better. I'm as big of a Pistons fan as you'll find, but even I'll admit that some of the playoff games were a chore to watch with every single player complaining after every single call. Such whining is a black eye on the game, as far as I'm concerned, destroying the flow of the game and taking some of the joy out of watching.
Did Rasheed get a raw deal in his first game? Of course he did, and it's going to be an extremely long season if players are consistently penalized for showing displeasure with a call even when they don't directly complain to the official. But let's see how this plays out, because I doubt it'll be as much of a season-long issue as some of us fans are making it out to be at the moment. Sooner or later a middle ground will be found, with players showing more restraint and officials not analyzing every single post-whistle reaction. (EDIT: At least, there better be: SLAM's Lang Whitaker has counted 46 technical fouls in the league's first 17 games!) In the meantime, maybe we need to lower our expectations, with anything more than 30 minutes a night from Wallace considered bonus.