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Finley: Bowen took cheap shot
Web Posted: 03/06/2004 12:00 AM CST
Express-News Staff Writer
Bruce Bowen will have to decide: Is it more insulting to be called a sissy or a coward?
Dallas Mavericks small forward Michael Finley heaved the latest verbal assault at the Spurs forward whom opponents seem to love to hate: Coward.
Add that to SuperSonics All-Star Ray Allen's charge that Bowen plays "sissy basketball" and Bowen might want to consider either a bodyguard or a shrink.
Of course, it was Finley who was charged with a category-two flagrant foul and ejected from Friday night's 113-100 Spurs victory at the SBC Center, so consider the anger of the source.
Televised replays of an elbowing exchange between the two with 2:18 remaining in the third quarter clearly showed both players throwing elbows.
Who first elbowed whom seemed to be a matter of contention and very much in the eye of the beholder, not to mention the color of the beholder's uniform.
Finley, however, was bluntly insulting Bowen, a defender he said he formerly respected.
"A coward guy made a coward play," Finley said. "He gave me a cheap shot from behind and I retaliated.
"I thought I deserved a technical foul. I don't know about the ejection. The refs must have missed the first one because it was away from the play. I was just going back down the court and he came up behind me and leveled an elbow into my ribs.
"I'm a man first and I went down and let him know it's not going to be like that."
Naturally, Bowen saw things differently. In fact, Bowen said it was Finley who threw the first elbow.
"We both elbowed one another," Bowen said, "and he bumped me back. Basically that's what happened. He hit me. I hit him back. That's the gist of it."
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he doesn't believe he will have to report the incident to the NBA office because he expects it will take action on its own after reviewing replays.
"Everybody knows about Bowen," Cuban said. "Hopefully I won't have to turn it in to the league. That was obvious. They showed it on national television. They showed it in the arena. I shouldn't have to do anything."
Cuban said Bowen's reputation preceded him, and the fact Allen repeated his argument that Bowen crossed the line of dirty tactics just two days ago didn't help matters.
In fact, Cuban said he offered to pay any fine that might accrue if one of his players hit Bowen in the face with the basketball.
"I told one of our guys when he gets up close like that just knock the ball into his face and I'll pay the fine," Cuban said.
Finley said he respected Bowen's reputation before Friday's incident because he didn't believe he resorted to dirty play.
"That's not his reputation," Finley said. "His reputation is as a physical defender, and you have to give him his due on that. But when you have to start giving people cheap shots, that's not basketball, especially away from the play.
"I'm a man before I'm a basketball player. He can't disrespect my manhood by giving me a cheap shot. I'm going to retaliate every time."
Hey, if everyone wants to label Bruce the new "Bad Boy" of the NBA I'm all for it. All that needs to happen now is for him to get on the cover of a national mag, then get suspended for a bunch of games.