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Cavs coach: Davis won't be fined

Posted: Monday March 17, 2003 3:24 PM

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Ricky Davis will not be fined by Cleveland Cavaliers coach Keith Smart, who said Monday that outright embarrassment is punishment enough for the team's leading scorer did in Sunday's game against Utah.

"The deed is done. What good would it do to slap him on the wrist?" Smart said after a morning practice. "He has to live with what he did. Wherever he goes, people will remember it."

They will remember Davis's astonishingly selfish attempt to pad his own statistics during a 122-95 win over the Utah Jazz on Sunday.

To get his first career triple-double in the final seconds of the lowly Cavs' biggest win of the season, Davis purposely mis-shot at the wrong basket and grabbed the carom, thinking it was his 10th rebound.

Davis was fouled hard by the Jazz's DeShawn Stevenson, angered that his club was being mocked. Davis made the two free throws to finish with 28 points, 12 assists, nine rebounds -- and one of the most shameful moments in franchise history.

"No comment," the usually exuberant Davis said as he left practice Monday.

Davis apparently did not know that his stunt backfired even without Stevenson fouling him. The rulebook states: "It is a violation for a player to attempt a field goal at an opponent's basket. The opposing team gets the ball."

Davis did not get a shot attempt or his precious rebound.

"I talked with Ricky after the game," Smart said. "The thing is, one tiny moment ruined the team's most successful game. Ricky had his finest game as far as blending in with his teammates.

"None of that will be remembered, but what he did will follow him always."

Smart said he and Cavaliers players were embarrassed.

"I felt very, very bad, and before Ricky shot the free throws, I went and apologized," Smart said of his walking over to an incensed Utah coach Jerry Sloan.

Davis, who signed a six-year, $34 million contract before the season, has provided the highlights and lowlights of a disappointing season for the Cavaliers. The 6-foot-7 guard is averaging 20.7 points and is the first player in team history to record three 40-plus scoring games in a season.

Davis also had two run-ins with former coach John Lucas, fired Jan. 20 after a 17-point loss at Utah. Lucas suspended Davis for two games earlier this season for arguing with teammates and being selfish.

"This is another learning point for Ricky," Smart said. "Four, three, two years from now, maybe next season, things like this won't happen."

"It took just a second," Smart said, putting his fingers a half-inch apart, "that's all it took for Ricky to negate all the good things he did and our team did Sunday."

The win was just the second in 15 games for the Cavaliers, who have a league-worst 12-53 record. Cleveland needs four wins in its final 17 games to avoid tying the franchise's worst mark of 15-67, set in the inaugural season of 1970-71 and matched in 1981-82.

That first season included an actual wrong-way basket, when the Cavaliers' John Warren scored for the other team without meaning to do so.

On Dec. 9, 1970, the Cavaliers trailed Portland 84-81 at old Cleveland Arena in front of 2,022 fans. Cleveland won the tip to start the fourth quarter and guard Bobby Lewis passed to Warren running toward the basket.

"I thought I had a basket," Warren told The [Cleveland] Plain Dealer afterward. "When I heard the whistle, I thought I had been called for traveling or something."

Lewis said he was proud of the pass.

"When I see a gold shirt going to the basket, I throw it to him," he told the newspaper.

The Trail Blazers' Leroy Ellis, who was actually trying to defend the shot, instead got credit for the two points.

"Too bad Leroy didn't foul him and get a three-point play," Trail Blazers coach Rolland Todd said the next day.

Neither Sloan nor Smart was as amused this time.

"When all is said and done, your career is over, it is your dignity that is at stake," Smart said. "Numbers are forgotten. You want your name to be respected."


 
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