Bottles, spitting and throwing popcorn: Emotion of NBA play-offs is no excuse for bad fan behaviour

The NBA play-offs are well into the first round of games and, on the whole, have made for exciting viewing.

Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets had a bottle thrown at him during the game against his former club, the Boston Celtics. Picture: Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images

The Milwaukee Bucks quickly dispatched the Miami Heat in a four-game sweep, while the number one seeds, the Philadelphia Sixers, are set to send the Washington Wizards home in four games.

Washington have surprised many by even making the playoffs, but the resurgent Russell Westbrook has dragged the team this far. Of course, when you are playing a team destined for the Eastern Conference finals, it was always going to be difficult.

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After dropping game one, the Utah Jazz stepped it up with two double-digit wins over the Memphis Grizzlies, with game four later tonight.

Elsewhere in the West, all the series are tied at two each.

The LA Clippers and the Dallas Mavericks have both struggled with the pressure at home. The series started with Dallas picking up two wins in LA. But, when they headed back to Texas, the Clippers suddenly found their form and picked up the subsequent two wins.

Denver Nuggets and Portland Trailblazers have exchanged a close series. Portland took game one before the Nuggets bounced back with game two and three.

The biggest news out of the West this weekend was Anthony Davis leaving game four of the LA Lakers vs Phoenix Suns. Davis started with a hyperextended knee and added to that when he strained his groin late in the first half.

The Lakers eventually lost the game as the Suns, playing with their own injured star Chris Paul, pulled level in the series.

Without Davis, the Lakers could be waving goodbye to any chance of a championship repeat. The evidence for a future series struggle can be seen in the box score from Sunday, where only LeBron James of the Lakers starters scored double figures, in comparison the Suns, all recorded double-digit scores.

Back East, the New York Knicks look to be on their way out, failing to score more than 105 points in any game, although making the playoffs is still seen as a successful season.

The Brooklyn Nets took a commanding lead series over the Boston Celtics. While the Nets have a dream team on paper, the playoffs are the first chance we will see them together after an injury-plagued season.

Unfortunately, the talking point after the game was fan behaviour. For the third time in a week, a fan felt the need to throw an object at a player.

In this case, a fan threw a water bottle at former Celtics player Kyrie Irving. The fan was arrested and banned by the NBA from attending any games at Boston TD Garden.

There were two more incidents earlier in the week, one where a fan spit on Atlanta guard Trae Young and another where Washington's Westbrook had popcorn poured over him as he left the court.

What I want to ask today is why these fans feel entitled to do this? Is it because after a year locked in their houses, they have lost the ability to act in socially acceptable ways? Is it because of the emotion of the event, something they haven't had for a year?

While these fans have been banned from the arenas, the NBA needs to do more. Where possible, these fans should be prosecuted and/or fined and at the very least banned from all NBA events. If a player acts out or gets involved, the league would quickly levy hefty fines and suspensions.

If the league has lofty expectations for players, then we should all have those exact expectations as fans. I've been to sports where there is hostility towards opposing players. I've been at Murrayfield for the Calcutta Cup but I'd never dream of making it personal and no fan ever should.

I know we get caught up in the moment, but we need to remember, these players are there to entertain us and that certainly doesn't give us the right to do anything more than cheer or jeer them.