Kyle Lowry playing defense with six fouls. pic.twitter.com/Wkase9usDh
— Steph Noh (@StephNoh) May 28, 2022
That play sums up why the NBA fined the Miami Heat $25,000 for “violating league rules regarding team bench decorum” during Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The NBA did not specify the incident after Lowry had fouled out but continued to defend, saying instead:
“On multiple occasions, several players stood for an extended period in Miami’s team bench area, stood away from the team bench, and were on, encroaching upon or entering the playing court during live game action.”
The Dallas Mavericks were fined three times and a total of $175,000 for “bench decorum” violations during the playoffs. It didn’t change the team’s behavior. This slap on the wrist will not change things in Miami for Game 7.
If the NBA wants to change behavior, they need to start assessing technical fouls and handing out free throws for violations. That will get teams’ attention, and it’s expected to be discussed during the offseason. Keep using relatively small fines and everyone will just shrug and continue to do what they do.