NBA should use NHL penalty box rule

The National Basketball League game has become so brutish that it ought to seriously think about incorporating a National Hockey League idea: The Penalty Box.

The idea comes to me tonight while watching the Chicago Blackhawks play the Boston Bruins. Hockey is a physical, contact sport but has managed to keep some control over the violence by penalizing rule breakers by sending them to the penalty box--without a substitute. It gives the penalized team a distinct disadvantage--it must play a man short for however the penalty lasts.

It is becoming ever clearer that the NBA game is out of control. If not for the Chicago Bulls, I wouldn't watch the NBA. It's not just lax refereeing, e.g. rarely calling "traveling" or allowing contact in what is officially a non-contact sport. Brut force has replaced finesse. Piggish behavior has replaced sportsmanship. Perhaps the NBA only is reflecting fan craving for violence. But some of us remember and love the game as it was originally designed.

If the NBA would want to regain control of the game, it could do it overnight by sending players to a penalty box, putting their team to a 5-to-4 disadvantage. Five on four--it boggles the mind.

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  • It wouldn't suit the nature of the game.

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