With two seconds left in the Lakers-Spurs game tonight, Brent Barry got the ball behind the three-point arc. Derek Fisher jumped in front of Barry, hitting him in the neck. Barry staggered to the side, took one dribble, and then badly missed a long three-pointer as time expired. The ref didn't call a foul, and the game ended.
Afterward, the TNT crew took Barry to task for not playing up the contact. Kenny Smith said Barry should have jumped into Fisher. Reggie Miller had a mini-dissertation about how Barry needed to play up the contact - kick his leg out, fall backwards, and fake an injury - so the ref would blow the whistle. And Reggie Miller knows A LOT about pretending to be hurt in order to get calls.
Ironically, the usual knock on the Spurs is that they flop too much. There's a t-shirt devoted to Manu Ginobli's diving, and even Eva Longoria says Tony Parker milks injuries. ("Honey, I have to stay on the ground sometimes.") Yet, on the most crucial shot of the series, the Spurs were undone by underplaying the contact on an obvious foul.
In Texas, they say you dance with who brung you. Flopping made the Spurs who they are. Now's not the time to deny their identity, their very nature. Did E-40 quit drinking at the height of the hyphy movement? Did Kenny Smith shave off his flattop during the 1994 NBA Finals? Did Sergeant Roger Murtaugh start believing he was young enough for this shit at any point in the Lethal Weapon series? No, no, and no. If the Spurs are going out, they should go out flopping.
Of course, here's the real problem: at the end of the game, needing one basket to save their season, the Spurs threw the ball to Brent Freaking Barry. Game over, series over.