The Dallas Mavericks pride themselves on having the most active, boisterous bench in the NBA. The players are standing all game, crowding the edge of the court — and occasionally stepping on it too — trash-talking opponents, interacting with the referees and bringing energy. At least as the Mavericks see it.
As the League sees it, the bench is intruding upon the game — they even put the Mavericks in a pre-playoff points of emphasis video talking about bench decorum.
For the third time this postseason, the Mavericks have been fined for violating the NBA’s “bench decorum” rules. This time the fine is for $100,000, bringing the fine total this postseason to $175,000. The reason for the fine in Game 2, as described by the NBA:
“On multiple occasions, several players and a member of the coaching staff stood for an extended period in the Mavericks’ team bench area, stood away from the team bench, and were on or encroaching upon the playing court during game action.”
Maybe the best example was this play, when Stephen Curry thought he was passing to a teammate in white, but it was Theo Pinson on the Mavs sideline with his hand up like he was asking for a pass. (This particular problem is a really simple fix.)
Steph curry pass the ball to the wrong teammates how #DALvsGSW pic.twitter.com/mKJOg31wPe
— vexan (@treeshardar) May 21, 2022
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban responded to the fine with this Tweet:
These fines are pocket change to an NBA team and an owner such as Cuban — the fine is not going to change the behavior. When the NBA was more active in fining players for flopping, those fines were small as well ($5,000 at first), but the hope was promoting these embarrassing videos publicly would essentially shame players into not flopping. If that’s the goal here it will fail; the Mavericks are proud of their bench and how it acts and energizes the team.
Adam Silver’s NBA has always been light handed with fines and suspension compared to the David Stern era, which has its own merits and is his prerogative. However, if the NBA league office wants to change the Mavericks’ behavior, they will need a little more Stern in their response. These fines will not do it. A technical foul to the bench — a free throw for the other team — is a place to start, but reports are the NBA will not go there until next season and discussing it with its rules committee.