Still, the league would have really sent a message if it had done more than give "serious consideration"—Thorn's words—to suspending Barkley and Laimbeer for a couple of playoff games and had actually done it. As for the fine money—well, Barkley has now chalked up a league-leading $35,000 in such assessments this season, and his one-game suspension cost him another $31,700. Still, he had this to say after the game: "I don't care if I get fined. I make $3 million [actually $2.6 million]. What's a couple thousand dollars?"
Detroit and Philly could meet in the postseason, and Piston forward Mark Aguirre said, "I'd just love it." If that happens, fight fans might hope for more fireworks, but that wish would be shared neither by the NBA office nor by anybody else who cares about sport.