Monday 14 May 2007

Bruce Bowen: I can't make my mind up...

After watching much of the Suns vs Spurs series in this years playoffs i got thinking about Bruce Bowen and really am struggling to come up with a definitive opinion on him and his 'Dirty' tag. Bowen has always been an offensively limited or uninvolved player during his career, never averaging more than 8ppg, but has always been heralded as one of the league's defensive elite. Every year people argue tirelessly that Bowen deserves a Defensive player of the year award, as he is yet to win one.

Many argue that Bowen benefits from the Spurs excellent defensive systems and having 'The Big Fundamental' Tim Duncan guarding the rim like a junkyard dog (one that doesn't have facial expressions). But in reality Bowen is truly an amazing and versatile defender, almost always guarding the other team's best player, from 7 foot Dirk Nowitzki, to Carmelo Anthony, to the diminutive Steve Nash, this isn't the issue which perplexes me, i know Bowen is the man defensively, so smart, deceptively strong, possesing crazy lateral quickness and even better timing.

The thing about Bowen is he is filthy, or at least has a reputation of being so as a result of many unlucky incidents..hmmm. Bowen has been called dirty by Kobe who he oten is tasked with harrasing around the court, Ray Allen, who he kicked in the back last season for no apparent reason, and lest we forget the highly hilarious and 'Bruce Lee Bowen' incident where Bowen fly-kicked an upright jumpshooting Wally Sczcerbiak in the face, often overlooked for its comedic elements (Damn Straight, BAM! Right in the kisser). Bowen has also been in numerous on court fights and suspicious injuries, always sporting a great, 'Who me ref?' face.(Btw, Check out all the videos, well worth it!)

Bowen even has signature dirty moves! The foot undercut after a shot leading to a rolled ankle - Bowen simply doesn't allow the player to land on the ground - ankle go crunchy. Rcently he's added the schoolyard bully trip up and knee to the crotch to his repetoire. In the current playoff series with the Spurs, if evidence is to be believed, Bowen has really outdone himself. Prompting Amare Stoudemire to go to the press calling Bowen and his oddly schnozed teammate Manu Ginobili as 'Dirty players'.

Now i personally would call myself a very physical defender, and much like Bowen i am often put on the other team's best offensive player, and coming from a defensively minded player i have to say i will, if given the oppurtunity take a shot at a good player, in order to get inside his head and knock him out of his concentration, there's no specific rulebook to this obviously, but bumping, holding and bending the rules regarding physicality of defense is part of the game and if you can get away with it, it probably means you're just a smart player. But the line, no matter how blurry has to be overstepped sometimes. In this instance Bowen is really acting improperly by all moral standards of basketball, you can legally bump someone, therefore making a semi-illegal bump a viable tactic, but tripping someone or knee's to the crotch aren't really in the rulebook last time i checked.

I feel as if i should criticise Bowen for his actions and i don't admire him per se, but there's something intriguingly daring about what he is doing. The facts are Amare stoudemire is crying like a baby and the Suns are rattled and down 2-1 in the series, and all this attention on these past games is destroying the Suns focus, Bowen has gotten inside their heads. However, the league is no doubt going to take action against Bowen, the evidence is overwhelming. In relation to his knee to Nash in game 3 he said: "It's just part of the game, I think, that you have to be man enough at times, when you do something and it's not the right thing that you've done, you have to be man enough to say, 'Hey, I'm sorry for that.' That's all it was, in the spirit of competition."

This will no doubt land Bowen in hot water as the league is already reviewing several of these recent incidents, but at the end of the day is it worth it if the Spurs win the series? I'm at a moral loss here to be perfectly honest. My only conclusion is Bruce Bowen - great defender, crap person.

Check the Videos and make your own mind up....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAakQjpFibg - You'll have to check the link for the best of all of them, some bastard is trying to quell my sadism...

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