The Dallas Mavericks boast a boisterous bench led by little-used Theo Pinson, but the NBA fined the Mavs for a third time this postseason for repeated bench decorum infractions, which will cost them $100,000 in fines.
The Mavs earned two fines by the NBA in the Western Conference Semifinals against the Phoenix Suns when their bench got in trouble for their behavior — and poor decorum — in Game 2 and Game 7.
The NBA most recently fined the Mavs after Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals in a loss to the Golden State Warriors.
“Several players and a member of the coaching staff stood for an extended period in the Mavericks’ team bench area, stood away from the team bench, and were on or encroaching upon the playing court during game action,” the NBA issued in an official statement.
The NBA doubles these bench decorum fines every time a team gets flagged. The initial fine is $25,000. The second fine doubles to $50,000. The third fine is worth $100,000. The Mavs already racked up $175,000 in bench decorum fines during the 2022 postseason. If they get flagged a fourth time, it will cost them $200,000.
All fines issued by the NBA — whether it’s against an individual person or an entire team — gets allocated to charity.
The NBA Bench Mob
Bench players are their own breed of player, especially in the NBA. Teams are allowed an extra player in the era of COVID-19, so there’s another voice out there. In the case of the Dallas Mavs, they employ more assistant coaches than any other franchise. So, their bench can get quiet crowded. And loud.
NBA players are known for a supreme level of trash talking, and some of the best verbal sniping and putdowns comes from the end of an opposing bench. The Mavs take this mentality to new heights.
Theo Pinson is regarded as one of the funniest players in the league. His sharp wit and quick tongue gets his teammates cracking up, but he also gets under the skin of opposing players.
“Theo has been our MVP since he joined the team,” said Mavs head coach Jason Kidd. “His spirit, what he’s done. He doesn’t play a lot, but he’s into the game, and we didn’t have that. That’s been a big part of our success internally. We needed someone to talk, and he’s been doing it for 60 minutes.”
The best NBA benches tend to reflect the personality of the team, and become an extension of their locker room. Close-knit teams with the best chemistry will often have fun, and jovial benches.
Teams that have fractured locker rooms, or do not get along, tend to have quiet benches. Teams with selfish reserves — filled with immature and entitled young players, or completely jaded veterans — tend to think they deserve more playing time, so those benches will also not be cheering on their teammates to succeed.
Kidd: NBA Worried About ‘Wrong Thing’
The Mavs are not going to tell their bench to chill out. If anything, these fines just give the bench more fuel to add to their raging fire.
“The league is worried about the wrong thing,” said Kidd. “You have millionaires cheering on other millionaires. Doesn’t happen in this society. And the enthusiasm of the game, for a teammate to cheer on another teammate is special. Sometimes we’re focused on the wrong thing. When look at people who make a lot of money cheering on their teammates or their employees, that’s what sport is all about.”
“I don’t mind as long as it doesn’t interfere with the game,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. “I love the fact that Dallas’ bench is energetic and talking trash and into it. That’s what fans want to see. They want to see a team that cares and they want to see energy and chemistry. So, I love it, but when it interferes with the game, that’s when it crosses the line.”
“For us to get fined, that’s cool,” added Kidd. “It’s going to another good cause, charity. But again, we’re looking at the wrong thing.”
Check out more coverage of the 2022 NBA Playoffs.