The Forecast Calls for Hard Fouls

The Mavericks had plan A to stop Chris Paul, and it failed, so they went to plan B.

That failed, too.

So now they soul search a little.

Without having the slightest clue what Avery Johnson and the Mavericks have been thinking, I would assume that one of the things on the table is the same thing that teams threw at Michael Jordan, Isiah Thomas, LeBron James, Shaquille O'Neal, and everybody else who has ever been able to carry a team to a playoff series win.

Hard fouls.

A lot of teams would consider that.

Jerry Stackhouse fouled Shaquille O'Neal pretty hard in the 2006 NBA Finals.

Tim MacMahon of the Dallas Morning News -- the original banned blogger himself! -- quotes Avery Johnson today: "We have to have a high level of physicality, which I haven't seen yet. We'll get there ..."

None of this is new. Chris Paul has been great all year, and teams have been fouling him all year. He has several advantages -- he's hard to catch, and he's surprisingly strong.

Also, let me be very clear: while Chris Paul may be smaller than a lot of players, and while he may be notably family-friendly off the court, on the court, he's no saint, cherub, or pansie. Rough stuff is not alien territory for him.

As I watch him fly like a bird all over the court, I conjure the voice of some old-time coach in my head: "They can't let him keep doing whatever he wants like that. Somebody has to slow that guy down. Make him think a little. Make it so the game isn't so damned fun."

Maybe that thought is rooted in yesteryear. Maybe there's nothing to worry about. Maybe new rules and tougher enforcement of old rules has brought us to a point where a player like Paul can keep flying freely all over the court all playoffs long.

If so, that'll be a real sign that the NBA game has really come full circle since the days of the Bad Boys -- but I'm not sure we're there yet.