Any hope the Pistons may have had that the NBA would rescind the ticky-tack technical foul issued to Rasheed Wallace on Sunday has been dashed: Stu Jackson, NBA Senior Vice President Basketball Operations, announced today that Wallace has been suspended one game for receiving his 16th technical foul. (He should have listened to his wife.) Wallace will miss Tuesday's game against the Hornets.
According to this morning's Detroit News, Flip Saunders is convinced that Wallace has been punished for his reputation this year:
When asked how much of Wallace's problems with officials stem from his past reputation, Saunders said: "All of it. He gets a lot of technicals that other guys don't get. He's gotten some that he's deserved and he's gotten some that are questionable because of his reputation."
So the Pistons' record of using the same starters in the first 73 games will officially come to an end on Tuesday.Don't be sad: Detroit bested the previous record by seven games. A lot of fans were hoping they'd make it through the whole 82 games, but the suspension shouldn't come as a surprise: according to our poll from almost exactly a month ago today, 63% of DBB readers who voted were already expecting Wallace to miss at least one game due to suspension.
As you may have heard by now, the streak was supposed to end on Sunday when Wallace arrived late to the Palace after a mishap with Daylight Savings Time. Flip Saunders had Antonio McDyess in his original starting lineup, a move Wallace completely agreed with, but McDyess and the rest of the team asked Saunders not to disrupt the rotation (and likely, the streak).
If you believe McDyess' post-game comments on Sunday, he'd like to beg out of Tuesday's start, as well:
Don't look for McDyess to start in place of Wallace. It will probably be Dale Davis.
"I think Dale's going to start," McDyess said. "I would rather keep the same rotation."
Personally, I think this is a testament to McDyess' lack of ego (Eli Zaret would agree -- he touched upon this in his latest post on Blue Collar Blueprint). Also, the silver lining to this is that Wallace will be well-rested for the upcoming Florida road trip: the Pistons travel to Miami on Thursday and Orlando on Friday. I mentioned this in passing on Sunday, but it's worth saying again -- now that "the streak" is officially a non-issue, Saunders can give serious thought to completely resting his starters for the final game or two, at least if the team's lead over the Spurs for homecourt advantage in the NBA Finals holds up.
In other news, it might be at least a little consoling to realize that Wallace and the Pistons aren't the people growing frustrated with the referees and the league. After being tagged with five fouls in Sunday's loss against the Nets, Shaquille O'Neal lashed out to the press:
"They just need to be consistent in how they call the game. And it all starts at the top, when you got a guy like Stu Jackson running stuff, it's obvious why the referees are the way they are."
Three times this season Jackson, who doles out penalties for the league, has upgraded regular fouls on O'Neal to flagrant fouls. The next flagrant foul O'Neal earns during the regular season will come with a one-game suspension, and apparently O'Neal is holding a grudge.
Asked if the referees have an agenda, O'Neal replied, "It looks like it to me."
The Lakers are also coming dangerously close to losing their top player to a one-game suspension. Kobe Bryant is second in the league behind Wallace with 14 technical fouls, prompting the folks over at the LA Times' Lakers Blog to issue a memo to Bryant:
Memo to Kobe Bryant (and his 14 T's):
The Pistons can afford to drop a game in Sheed's absence. The Lakers can't afford to lose jack. The Pistons are also deep enough to win a game without him. And yeah, the Lakers can indeed win without you, too. Unfortunately, the team's already played both its games against the Knicks. So a friendly reminder. Until April 19th, gotta keep that yap shut, no matter how pissed you are.
Detroit's Rasheed Wallace Suspended [NBA.com]
McDyess rejects his opportunity to start [Detroit News]
Real Mambas are Deadly, but Don't Talk (Except in Adorable Animated Movies) [LA Times' Laker Blog]
Shaq calls out NBA's Jackson, referees [Palm Beach Post]