Phoenix Fans Feel Burned Again

There was that fight on Wednesday night, which didn't get all that much attention even though it involved names like Shaquille O'Neal, Tracy McGrady, and Steve Nash.

Now that the suspensions have been handed out, though, my inbox is lighting up big-time.

No one is too surprised to see that Matt Barnes and Rafer Alston will be sitting out two games apiece. Barnes clearly started the whole thing with a cheap shot, and Alston was the gasoline that fueled the fight as it chugged along.

But Nash ...

People in Phoenix will forever feel stung by the NBA after those suspensions in the 2007 playoffs. Their victim complex is ripe. And the Nash suspension predictably has them all angry. (An overly aggressive Canadian? They seem to be saying. Really?)

Me? I love me some Suns, but I'm tired of the whining. Not only were the 2007 suspensions fair -- the rules were clear and the players knew they should have stayed by the bench -- but I'm not at all convinced that Steve Nash's intentions in this current scuffle were above board.

I'm totally convinced, in fact, that he was really pissed off. That much is obvious. It's also clear there was a fight, and he was running Mach 6 into the middle of it. Why? To hurt somebody? To break things up? I'm not at all sure, but it sure reminds me of his reaction after getting knocked down by Robert Horry. He charged that dude big-time, and either his smallness, his Canadianness, or victimness kept him from getting in any real trouble for that.

In any case, if you're Stu Jackson, handing out punishments from the league office, human missiles aren't helping in your critical mission to prevent the big brawls that make America think the NBA is a bunch of young men rum amok.

Watch it yourself. There are a zillion views, none of which make clear to me what Steve Nash was doing. You'll notice that after it's all done, Nash has a scuffed neck. A few e-mailers have advanced the theory that the neck thing came first, and that Barnes' cheap shot was payback for something that happened to Nash a few plays before. None of the video shows that, but it would explain a very agitated Nash.