For the third time in the NBA playoffs this season, the Dallas Mavericks were fined for the same infraction: violating league rules regarding team bench decorum.
The league announced the third fine on Sunday, following actions by the Mavs’ bench against Golden State in Game 2 of Friday’s Western Conference Finals.
Fines have doubled from $25,000 to $50,000 and now $100,000 for the last violation.
“On several occasions, several players and a member of the coaching staff stood for an extended period of time in the area of the Mavericks team bench, stood off the team bench, and were on the field of play or encroached on the field of play during the game,” the league said. announced in a statement endorsed by NBA president of league operations Byron Spruell.
The tone of this statement does not reflect the league’s frustration with the Mavericks. The league believes the Mavs’ bench conduct impacts player safety, competitiveness and fan consideration.
League rules state that players during a game must remain seated while the ball is in play, except to spontaneously react to notable play or report to the scorer’s table to check the game; players not in play may not stand on or away from the team bench during play action; and bench players are prohibited from distracting opponents in an unsportsmanlike manner during play.
The final element – distracting opponents in an unsportsmanlike manner during game action – came into play in Game 2 when Steph Curry, with the Warriors wearing white uniforms, threw the ball to Theo Pinson, who was not in uniform but wore a white sweater with his left arm raised. Curry clearly thought he was a Warriors teammate.
This play particularly annoyed league officials.
The league isn’t averse to standing players, especially after a big play, but they don’t want players standing for the majority of the game, especially if the fans behind them can’t see.
Since these bench decorum issues have generally been resolved after league intervention, technical fouls have not been used as a deterrent, and the league does not plan to begin issuing technicians in the playoffs. conference.
However, the topic will be discussed during the offseason, and the league will explore ways to address bench decorum during real-time games, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports. The person requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the subject.
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Before the NBA issued its first fine to Dallas, it warned the Mavericks to stop the behavior and abide by rules regarding bench decorum.
The Mavs refused to comply, increasing the league’s frustration. Similar breaches have happened before, but the issues have been resolved.
Dallas is owned by Mark Cuban, who is no stranger to league fines and also sits by the team bench – sometimes standing and cheering alongside players. During his tenure as owner, he was fined over $3 million, which does not include a de facto $10 million fine that was donated to organizations that promote women in leadership roles and combat domestic violence following a survey of the Mavs’ work culture. .
Game 3 is Sunday in Dallas, and Cuban doesn’t seem swayed by the league fine. He tweeted a video of Nets bench players celebrating the games and retweeted a video of Golden State’s Draymond Green complaining to game officials about a call with the Cuban writing, “Our bench is out of control!”