The NBA season's only eight days old, but it's already seen two players slapped with fines for what the NBA terms an "obscene gesture" made famous years ago by brash point guard Sam Cassell. First, Brooklyn Nets reserve big man Andray Blatche felt the wrath of the league office; now, Milwaukee Bucks small forward Caron Butler has been fined $15,000 by NBA President of Basketball Operations Rod Thorn.
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The league's official announcement pegs Butler's transgression to the 3:54 mark of the fourth quarter of the Bucks' Nov. 1 matchup with the Boston Celtics, which would be right after this play:
Neither the Bucks' local feed (shown above) nor the Celtics' local feed (as archived on the NBA's media-facing stats site) show Butler making any sort of obscene gesture after hitting a 3-pointer to cap a 16-4 Milwaukee run that brought Larry Drew's team all the way back after trailing by as many as 22 points in the third quarter and knotted up the score with less than four minutes to go; both cut away to crowd-reaction shots after the made basket.
Given the lack of video evidence, I wonder how the league's disciplinarians can justify penalizing the 33-year-old swingman.
Oh. OK, then.
Milwaukee finished that game with a 10-0 run to knock off the scuffling Celtics, 105-98. Butler finished with eight points, six rebounds, an assist and a steal in 27 minutes, while reserve center Zaza Pachulia (above, background, celebrating) led five Bucks in double figures with 20 points, nine rebounds and four assists.
The league issued the same $15,000 dangle-dancing penalty against then-Chicago Bulls guard Marco Belinelli after he made a big 3-pointer against the Nets during Game 7 of the teams' first-round playoff series back in May. That's $10,000 less than the $25,000 fineEddie House received for doing the same thing back in January 2011, and $5,000 less than Washington Wizards head coach Randy Wittman got for saying a bad word after a loss.
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