It was subtle enough that you might've missed it the first time around, but after making this late-fourth-quarter 3-pointer to give the Minnesota Timberwolves a two-point lead over the visiting Chicago Bulls on Saturday night ...
That's not very much of an exaggerated evocation of testicular fortitude, as far as I'm concerned, but clearly, the NBA feels differently:
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Kevin Martin has been fined $15,000 for making an obscene gesture during the Timberwolves’ 106-105 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Saturday, Nov. 1, at Target Center, it was announced today by Rod Thorn, President, Basketball Operations.
I guess Mr. Thorn and his colleagues disagree with Andy Greder of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, who called Martin's gesticulation "the most enjoyable moment" of the evening's entertainment. That's disappointing, but it's not surprising. After all, the league's made something of a habit of scolding players whose preferred form of big-shot celebration features "cupped [...] hands [...] held [...] just below [the] waist." They've dinged Marco Belinelli, Andray Blatche, Caron Butler and Jameer Nelson for similar tributes over the past two seasons, and judging by the quick strike against Martin's wallet, they're poised to continue punishing this particular "obscene gesture" for the foreseeable future.
This is where we remind you that the fine for the Cassell dance is equal to the penalties for:
• Going Stan "The Lariat" Hansen on an opposing driver;
• Dropping a flying forearm on an opposing rebounder;
• Getting caught flopping four times in one season.
... which, as we've said before, seems ludicrous and excessive.
Kevin Martin: "I'll bet you 15,000 dollars I know what the first question is going to be."
— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) November 3, 2014
Head coach and president of basketball operations Flip Saunders was a little less smiley about it, though:
Flip on Martin fine: said it harked back to Sammy Cassell in 2004. Reminded us Sam hurt himself doing it and was never the same
— Kent Youngblood (@BloodStrib) November 3, 2014
(I bet Flip's a load of fun at parties.)
Despite Martin's evident confidence, shotmaking prowess and another big triple that gave Minnesota a chance in the closing seconds:
... the Bulls wound up holding on for a 106-105 win on Saturday, thanks to a pair of free throws with 0.2 seconds remaining by apparently-no-longer-injured Chicago guard Jimmy Butler. Martin finished with a game-high 33 points on 9 for 14 shooting (4-for-6 from 3-point land, 11-for-11 at the stripe) to go with seven rebounds, two assists and one unjustly punished dance move in 35 1/2 minutes.
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