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The Technical Foul Rules' Next Victim

Amar'e Stoudemire's 18th technical foul of the season was also the most laughable. In the second quarter of last night's loss to the Mavs, Stoudemire and Brendan Haywood got a bit tangled while fighting for rebounding position and were both called for techs; they didn't even argue - they just laughed, with incredulous looks on their faces.

Of course, that questionable call could be costly - unless that tech is rescinded, Stoudemire will be suspended for Sunday's game against the Indiana Pacers.

Whenever he does serve the suspension - even if he's given a mulligan on last night's T, a sixteenth seems inevitable - he'll be the second NBA superstar to miss time due to technical fouls. Orlando's Dwight Howard sat out Monday's game vs. Portland due to accumulation of T's. Stephen Jackson and Carmelo Anthony (15 apiece) and Kobe Bryant (14)  are closing in on automatic one-game suspensions as well.

Even after the initial suspension, those stars won't be out of the woods. The NBA mandates an additional one-game suspension for every two technicals after the 18th.

Is it just me, or is that sort of nuts?

I mean, we're not talking about players getting suspended for doing something really bad. They haven't taken performance-enhancing drugs, gotten into fights... they haven't even committed that most heinous of NBA crimes and left the bench area while two other players were fighting. Do we really want to make a precedent of putting all-stars on the bench for complaining?

Because in my humble opinion, the fans who paid to see the Orlando Magic and got to see 'em without Howard have a far greater complaint.

Also worth noting -- it's all well and good to have the refs in hair-trigger mode on technical fouls, and then have the league decide some are unwarranted and rescind 'em. Problem with that is, technical fouls usually also mean technical foul SHOTS. Y'know - attempts from the free-throw line that actually lead to points and can have an impact on games.

Commissioner Stern - when you've got that whole CBA thing settled, fix this.

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