During the most hectic time in the NBA, it is normal for tensions to run high, and lately, it has caused a ruckus.
The physicality in this series versus the Rockets is quite possibly the most dominant feature of the match-up. The intensity makes for an emotionally rousing experience, especially for the fans.
Sure, it sucked when Fish got ejected for sticking it to Scola, but the Rockets’ needed to be put in their place. They came into this series with an air of overconfidence. There is no humble pride about Houston, and that is observable in their cocky line-up headed by Ron Artest, who by the way, looks like the biggest tool with that mohawk adorned with the Rockets’ logo.
The only player on that team that doesn’t reek of a false sense of accomplishment is Yao Ming, who left Game 3 limping on a sore ankle (a potential bonus for the Lakers in Game 4?). Despite the commentative remarks that Houston is one of the “best defensive teams in the league”, I would beg to differ.
Their defense is characterized by sly contact, contact that isn’t called until it begins to escalate. For example, let’s look at our last regular season game against the Rockets. For a lengthy amount of time, Artest tried to weasel himself into Kobe’s head, talking trash up and down the floor, even while Kobe was at the stripe. Artest is all muscle, no agility, no quick fouls, he just wraps his players in a defensive chokehold and hopes to whatever God he prays to that he won’t get called on it.
Check out the replays, Artest is either flailing his elbows, or locking his player in a defensive chokehold (an illegal one at that). Kobe had to throw him an elbow just to wrestle free of the stranglehold, which is where the trash-talking began, but who turns out on top? Kobe breaks his ankles and leaves Artest scrambling while he calmly steps back and drains a 3. I’m glad that Kobe realizes that Artest can talk the talk, but definitely cannot walk the walk.
In Game 2, Artest had Kobe in another locked arm battle where he was called for a technical and Kobe was handed a flagrant, irritated by the call, Artest runs across the court to get in Kobe’s face, and Kobe proceeds to throw up his hands in neutrality. Kobe realized his responsibility in the situation and did not give in to the empty threats of Ron Artest, hence why, Kobe remained in the game and Ron Artest had to walk back to the locker room. Ron would later whine that Joey Crawford wasn’t watching any of the “Kobe plays”. Sorry Artest but that’s a load of crap.
The Rockets get away with the most ridiculous amount of contact, whether it’s a screen, a box out, or an attempt to stop a play in the paint. Don’t blame the referres Artest, blame yourself for not bringing a notebook when Kobe takes you to school.
Another overconfident brat in the Houston bunch is Von Wafer, whose tendency to be a sniveling baby got him sent to the locker room early in Game 2. Wafer complained that he needed to be in the game to his Assistant Coach. What type of team player tells their coach that they need to be put in? Especially when, in Game 1, he scored a whopping 0 points!
See what I was saying about the over-confidence? Oh, and let’s also bring up the fact that Artest has been ejected 2 games in a row now… 2 games! How do you not get suspended for having such a horrible attitude on the court?
It’s a disgrace to the game of basketball and I can’t wait until we send those jerks back to Texas.