By BRENNAN PRUSAK
The unspoken rules of sports might be the some of the hardest to understand, but result in some of the harsher punishments. For example:
- Don’t steal when you are up more than 10 runs in baseball.
- Don’t run up the score when you can take a knee in football.
- Don’t take the open layup in the end of a basketball game that was decided long ago.
Do any of these and you’ll find yourself at the mercy of the other team. Essentially, you need to play hard enough to win a game but not too hard to the point of showing up the other team even if you weren’t trying to do so in the first place.
The Philadelphia 76ers were up by eight points with 12 seconds left when Dario Saric ran the floor for an easy one-handed dunk. The Cavaliers were not a fan of this move and Jordan Clarkson threw the ball at Saric in disgust, causing a small scuffle to break out on the court.
“Uh, basketball, that’s it,” Clarkson said after the game. “Part of the game. If anybody says different, that they wouldn’t have did that, that they’d have did something different or anything else, they are lying. Especially if it was at that [point] of the game.”
Clarkson seemed to take exception to the fact that Saric took an easy bucket when the game was “already over,” but analysts and former players alike were quick to take the other side.
Many said that if Clarkson didn’t like the fact that he scored as late as he did, he shouldn’t have let him score. If the Cavs kept it a close game, the problem wouldn’t have risen. Others said that if they were Saric, they would have dunked it twice as hard and stared down the crowd to put an exclamation point on the game.
However, Saric can likely expect a hard foul the next time these teams meet just like a baseball player should expect a fastball to the back after taking too long to round the bases after a home run.
It’s not too often that you see the news media take the same side as the players but, in this case, it’s usually only the team that’s losing that feels their actions were justified. If it were the other way around, the Cavs would have looked at it from the side of the Sixers and news media, but athletes, no matter what age, hate nothing more than getting shown up in a loss.