The NBA upped the pressure on the Dallas Mavericks over their boisterous bench antics on Sunday, fining the club $100,000 after its latest violation of “bench decorum.”
The hefty penalty, for conduct during the Mavs’ game-two loss to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals, comes after fines of $25,000 and $50,000 over the behavior of unoccupied Mavs players on the sideline during the club’s series win over the Phoenix Suns.
“The amount of Dallas’ fine also reflects prior infractions of team bench decorum rules in the 2022 NBA playoffs,” president of league operations Byron Spruell said in a statement.
The latest Mavs actions to provoke the NBA’s ire occurred on Friday, when Golden State’s Stephen Curry scored 32 points and the Warriors erased a 19-point first-half deficit to win 126-117 and take a commanding 2-0 series lead.
Game three was on Sunday in Dallas.
“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,” Spruell said.
That has been a familiar pattern for the Mavericks, whose bench players have made it a habit to create commotion on the sideline.
Billionaire Mavs owner Mark Cuban isn’t likely to be bothered by the increasing fines — nor he is likely to curb his own habit of straying toward the court.
Even Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he didn’t much mind the antics, as long as they didn’t create confusion as to who was actually in the game.
At one point on Friday, Curry was attempting a pass into the corner but ended up throwing the ball out of bounds toward the Mavs bench, with some suggesting Curry mistook one of the inactive Mavs players — two of whom were standing and wearing white — for a teammate in a white uniform jersey.
In the same contest, Golden State’s Jordan Poole came down from a three-point attempt and almost landed on the feet of Mavs players on the sideline.
“I don’t mind as long as it doesn’t interfere with the game,” Kerr said. “I love the fact that Dallas’ bench is energetic and talking trash and into it. I think that’s what fans want to see. They want to see a team that cares and they want to see energy and chemistry. So I love it, but when it interferes with the game, that’s when it crosses the line.
“So I think that’s the only thing I’m concerned with, if there is a play that … if there’s a person on the court, person who is standing up calling for the ball, that’s a little too much. But otherwise, I really enjoy it. I think it’s great.”