Lakers/Thunder: Elbow To The Thunder’s Head

Rey Moralde —  April 22, 2012

BOX SCORE: Lakers 114, Thunder 106 (2OT)

This isn’t going to be the normal good/bad/ugly recap like you normally see out of me. I suppose you can say that I’m mailing in my recap much like the Lakers did today against the Thunder.

Until the 4th quarter, that is.

Of course, we’ll have to talk about Metta World Peace… Ron Artest elbowing James Harden to the head after he made his third dunk of the game. Up to that time, MWP had been playing the hardest out of all the Lakers and they had all the momentum in the world as they cut the lead down to 48-47. Whatever you think of that elbow (intentional, accidental, etc.), it was vicious and I won’t be surprised if he gets suspended 10 games or even more. At the time, it seemed like a death knell for the Lakers as they just seemed to go through the motions (they were as down as many as 18 points). Andrew Bynum, despite having 5 swats, looked sleepy out there. Heck, if someone told me I needed to play basketball at around 12:30 P.M., I’d probably stay in bed, too. But Bynum is a professional basketball player in the NBA and if he’s going to loaf around like that, then he doesn’t deserve to play. And he didn’t play after the third quarter as Jordan Hill (she sounds hot!) and his infectious energy was needed more out there.

Kobe Bryant. What can you say? This is why he is Kobe Bryant. He made most of them big shots. That 3-point runner in the 4th. That 3-pointer in Sefolosha’s face right after. His defense against Russell Westbrook (who finished 3-for-22) was PHENOMENAL. Kobe finished with 26 points and while he didn’t shoot well overall, he put the team on his back (sorry, NSFW video) and willed this team to victory.

I like that Mike Brown actually stuck with his line-up of Kobe, Pau Gasol, Devin Ebanks, Steve Blake, and Jordan Hill. Ebanks hustled relentlessly (10 freethrow attempts and did a nice job guarding Kevin Durant) and Blake made some timely threes (his threes in the fourth quarter were huge in this comeback). But you really gotta give fistbumps to Jordan Hill. The guy basically revived his career with a 14-point, 15-rebound, and 3-block performance. We just hope that Brown actually gives Ebanks and Hill some minutes from here on out because these hustle guys are too important to let them stew on the pine. Also gotta give props to Gasol. He didn’t look too hot earlier but he finished with a near triple-double with 20 points, 14 boards, and 9 dimes. He got the whole team involved with his great passing.

Oklahoma City was hurt with the loss of Harden (who is a great playmaker and third scorer) but they were up by as many as 18 points. Their fourth-quarter execution needs work and kudos to the Lakers for not giving up and taking advantage. I hope Bynum was observing intently during this game. I hope he learned that you just can’t walk on the court and expect to get 15 boards without trying.

Some have said that the Lakers should be worried that it took two overtimes to beat a Thunder team without Harden. Some have also said we should be worried for the Lakers’ lack of effort in the first three quarters. But there are going to be players that will put forth the maximum effort like Jordan Hill and we should be encouraged that the Lakers actually now have another big man beyond Josh McRoberts and Troy Murphy.

No matter how you look at it, this was a HUGE win for the Lakers and their psyche. They’re down to one more game left in the regular season (against Sacramento on Thursday). And hopefully, they can punctuate their wild and wacky season with a win over that lowly squad. Even if Ron doesn’t see action for the rest of the year, we now know that they have guys that can step up and fill that gap. This COULD be a blessing in disguise as we have clamored for Devin Ebanks to get a spot on the rotation.

Get ready for the playoffs, ladies and gentlemen.

Rey Moralde

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141 responses to Lakers/Thunder: Elbow To The Thunder’s Head

  1. 67 rebounds. Damn.

  2. Kobe shut down westbrook was on his hip all game. Solid effort from Kobe on defense.

    Jordan hill reminds me of taj gibson. He needs minutes in the 4th for defense. He’ll bring energy bynum won’t on defense.

    Offense was not good w/o kuester but kobe made up for it with great shot making and timely passes.

    If blake can make those shots sit sessions put the ball in kobe’s hands spot up blake.

  3. Jim Buss — Glad you didn’t trade bynum for Jason Kidd

    Mitch K — Wish you hadn’t resigned Fisher last year. Sasha, Farmar and Brown would have got it done. Glad you finally dumped the terrible Fish completely. Glad you brought in young potential in Ebanks, Morris, Goudelock, Hill.

    Blake — Great game today.

    MB — Playing Hill was good. Playing Blake & Sessions combination was another disaster.

    Kobe — Today was another reason he is among all time greats.

  4. Really enjoyed the way Ebanks was fighting today.

    He was hit with a number of Perkins’s patented moving screens. If he learns to fall down off of them, the officials will be forced to call it, and he will be better at guarding a player like Durant.

    The Lakers finished the last two overtimes as a completely jump shooting team. Pau wasn’t even going in the post so that Kobe could have space to operate. It was interesting – as it prevented the double.

    And with the lineup the Lakers had in their (Ebanks and HIll aren’t spacers) they couldn’t afford the Kobe double.

    Hill just did the best Lamar Odom interpretation I’ve ever seen. The Thunder were completely surprised the Lakers had a big who hustled up and down the court and chases after rebounds. Was so refreshing.

  5. Jordan Hill = Poor Man’s Varejao. And that is no slight.

  6. Feels soo good being a Laker fan today im still giddy about the win. We watched the best NBA game played this season on our home floor.

    And im more disgusted with bynum’s attitude toward his team than the artest foul. He may be the worst teammate to play with in the league.

    *dreams about Jordan Hill in the starting lineup*

    I can dream can’t I…

  7. Rich man’s Turiaf !

  8. It was indeed the Game of the Year in the NBA. The playoff intensity was incredible. Huge for our seeding. Before we get too giddy (we have a tendancy to do that):
    1) Let’s see if Hill can follow this up.
    2) What is the NBA going to do with MWP?
    3) How is AB going to respond to this?
    4) How is RS going to respond to this?
    5) What in the world are the rotations going to be now? : )

  9. Another great thing about the win. lakers just got blown out twice could’ve easily rolled over but those 5 guys wanted it.

  10. Hey Kevin: I called Kobe out on defense before the game : )

    Of course he was a little short of the 40 I wanted – but those 3′s were incredible !

  11. Worried about World Peace now.

    That was way too blatant. Hard to defend him on that play…

  12. if everyone thought rotations were somewhat unpredictable before, its going to be crazy now with Metta out and Hill in. Hopefully we get one clipper loss so we can give Kobe and Pau a weeks rest and give Barnes and Sessions some heal time.

    My prediction on Metta suspension…12 games! General Stern gonna lay the smack down

  13. MWP should miss three games for that shot to Harden. He allowed himself to be drawn in to the cheap shots that OKC players have learned from Perkins.

    The missed games by MWP won’t be the issue, the problem will be when he returns. Referees will monitor his every move and interpret his actions according to their anticipations/expectations of his actions. He’ll be on a short lease which will prevent him from being the player Lakers fans need to see.

    Please rest Pau in the Sacramento game!

  14. Didn’t really see anything out there today that makes me think this squad is any more likely to get out of the 2nd round than I felt before. It’ll be next to impossible to force Westbrook, Durant, and Harden into games this bad in a playoff series (and 100% impossible if MWP is suspended for the series).

    I love the hustle from Ebanks and Hill, and the refusal to quit in what looked like yet another blowout at the hands of a superior team.

    However, as has been mentioned above, it is getting harder and harder to defend (as in “come to the defense of”) Andrew Bynum. Flashes of dominance and greatness in between long bouts of petulance and minimal effort just aren’t going to cut it. I didn’t see him rise from the bench or come on to the floor to greet his teammates one time during the 4th quarter or two overtimes.

    At this point, Andrew looks not one bit more mature than the guy who blasted JJ Barea with a cheap shot and then stripped off his jersey in his final 2011 appearance.

  15. No way MWP gets 12 games.

    That would be, basically, saying MWP is ineligible for the playoffs.

    If the Lakers 1st rd went 7, MWP wouldn’t be able to come back till game 5 of the 2nd rd.

    There’s just no way it should be that big – and if it is, that’s sad.

    I don’t defend MWP’s actions in any way – but it wasn’t a double digit suspension type of play.

    Bynum got 5 games for a hip check on a smaller player. 5 seems like the right number here.

  16. Polar Bear Squares April 22, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Artest gettin’ 5 games at least. Stern is arbitrary and he loves to mess with the Lakers. Remember the Kobe suspension for the inadvertent elbow? The Phil Jackson fine. The D Fish suspension. Bynum’s suspension. Stern has a thing for punishing the Lakers and this is the perfect opportunity to do so.

    I’m not defending Artest’s elbow but I will say this.: OKC is a bully team. They’ve been talking, jawing, chirpin, pushing, elbowing all year. Harden was in Kobe’s ear the last game. If refs don’t want stuff like this to escalate they should jump on top of their antics from the beginning. Because a team with Kobe, Artest/Metta, Barnes and Bynum is not the team you want to get into a fight with.

    That being said, I hope Harden is ok for the playoffs and hope the league doesn’t try and make an example of Artest … but I’m pretty sure they will.

  17. This game was bigger than just the win. First I think we found an upgrade over Murphy off the bench. When the trade for Hill went down I was really happy. Unfortunately he sprained his knee immediately and is just now getting back. You can tell he still has a lot to learn but he makes up for it with hustle.

    Devin’s D was huge. I think this a real confidence builder for him. And with Metta about to miss some games we are going to need him.

    I also think this game was huge for Steve Blake’s confidence. He had been playing with zero confidence after his injury. If he shoots like this in the playoffs it will be huge.

  18. Funky Chicken – I agree with you about Bynum; he is indefensible (and not in a good way).

    I would take a guy like Greg Monroe (less talented, but plays hard every night) every day of the week over a guy who just doesn’t try. The Lakers literally have no idea, from quarter to quarter even, what they are going to get out of him.

    It’s not like the Lakers want to tank right now. Just a despicable effort from Bynum tonight – and he deserved to be benched.

  19. The biggest takeaway from this game is MWP status. i would not be surprised to see something approaching a ten game suspension. An elbow like that to the back of the head is espcially dangerous. Throw in his rep. Throw in Stern’s wanting to make an example out of someone going into what will surely be a heated playoffs.

    Ron has been really coming together as of late. A multigame suspension could kill his rhythm and the team’s as well. On a team that is already struggling to play defense they are about to lose their best defender for most likely the first round of the playoffs. That was a horrible sequence of decision making on Ron’s part.

  20. MWP: 5 min, but I agree Stern could have his VETO pen out so who knows.
    MB: I am not a huge fan (although I always seem to be defending him), but you must give him credit. He pushed a bunch of chips in the pot on a long shot and he pulled it off.

    KOBE RULES !

  21. If you don’t want to get hit by an elbow, don’t get in the face of one of the all-time greats and talk like you are something. Everyone wants to say that they don’t condone, etc., etc., but look what is happening to Blake. Nobody is stepping up to say enough. So he keeps getting knocked down. MWP sent a message to that punk ass team that they can stop the bull crap or face consequences.

  22. These are the facts. If we want the old Ron Artest we need the old Artest. He is a crazy person. He is an angry person. He also can dominate games on both ends of the floor like few ever have. That’s Ron Artest. He is a bad man. I know we want these guys to be puppy dogs… But I have news for you folks… The great ones are attack dogs. Bynum is a bad man. Kobe is a bad man. Artest was… And is now again… A bad man. This is a men’s basketball league. I can’t say enough how much I dislike what Artest did. I can’t say it enough. He was in the wrong. He elbowed a defenseless player in the side of the head. However… It is also a fact that Harden deliberately walked in front of Artest while he was on the way back up the floor after a big time throw down. He was completley egging on Artest. And Harden ended up paying a price unfortunately. I’ll tell you one thing… This is why we wanted Artest on the Lakers. We were soft and vulnerable. Artest makes the Lakers crazy, strong and unpredictable. Nobody wants a piece of any of the Lakers because they are afraid of Ron Artest. Players are afraid of him. He is a big, scary man. While we should not like how RonRon acted when being suckered in by James Harden (and it was a despicable cheap elbow) but we have to understand that other teams see LA now has two guys in the starting lineup that might take your head off at any time. That could really help the Lakers… That could really hurt the Lakers. Time will tell how much control Bynum and Ron will have in the playoffs. After all… There is occasionally a right time to take a one game suspension. Right Derek Fisher?

  23. Kobe set a tone all game with his willingness to sacrifice himself to shutdown one of OK’s two main scorers. Can’t say enough about the guy.

    So happy for Hill, and the little stuff at the end, like the fact that the Lakers, a team that missed a ton of free throws in the 4th, made em all in the second OT. Basic, but showed resolve and determination to shut the door.

    As to Bynum, what can you say? The guy just does not seem to consistently care. Serious bummer, cuz we’re better when he’s fully engaged. Then again, he was checked out against SA #3, outplayed in SA #2 and jogging up the court today, so if you can’t get up for games like this, hard for your teammates to rely on you when it’s for all of the marbles.

  24. Bynum originally got something like 8-10 games and the sentence was only commuted to 5 because of the lockout, so it’s the former penalty you’ll want to look at in terms of guessing with MWP gets.

    Whatever the Thunder did, I’m going to take a temporary moratorium from calling them goons (even Perkins) in light of MWP’s elbow. I can’t defend that. I want him on the roster for the playoffs, but if he isn’t – why should we blame Stern when it’s MWP who put the Lakers in that situation?

    And yes – getting really sick of Bynum’s attitude problem; it’s not that much more defensible. Hopefully Kobe and Pau give him a thorough ass-kicking before the playoffs start to get his head screwed on straight.

  25. Buzz Lightyear April 22, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    While I can’t climb into the head of TAFKARA/WMP, I honestly don’t think he meant to elbow Harden in the head. I think he was upset that Harden was crowding him during his celebration, and was trying to elbow him out of the way, I don’t think was aiming to hurt Harden.

    He definitely deserved the Flagrant 2/ejection and I can’t really argue with some suspension time, especially after things like Suns key players being suspended for taking a few steps away from their bench (but not actually engaging in anything) during their 2007 playoff series against the Spurs.

    I don’t know if this had anything to do with TAFKARA/MWP’s elbow, but I noticed that the Lakers were once again being badly abused physically by their opponent. I’ve noticed this over the past several games, where opponents would grab, hold, and push the Lakers, and the Lakers would not get the benefit of calls, nor would they push back.

    I can’t count how many times over the past several games the Lakers have turned the ball over because a post defender basically ‘swim moves’ a Laker posting up and deflects the entry pass.

    In a correctly-called game of basketball, those fouls get called. In the modern NBA where “aggression” gets rewarded, the Laker post player needs to use his butt, hips and legs to knock down the defender, take the offensive foul call, and inform both the post defender and the referees that he won’t stand for the defender repeatedly fouling him.

    This lack of fight was especially noticeable in the early 2nd half. I think the Thunder knew the refs would give them considerable leeway after TAFKARA/WMP’s elbow, and they took full advantage. I saw Russell Westbrook full-body block multiple Lakers multiple times, and nothing was called.

    It was refreshing to see the Lakers finally fight through that (note the disparity in free throws in the 4th quarter and OTs).

    It was also interesting to see that OKC, for all of its regular season dominance is still, in the words of Charles Barkley, “…just a jump-shooting team.”

    That’s where not having Harden really hurt OKC. When the Lakers played proper defense, they forced OKC into tough jump shots. Harden gives OKC that third scorer which makes them almost impossible to stop.

    I still think OKC will make the Lakers second-round playoff meat (assuming the Lakers get past Dallas), but they might actually be able to make it a series.

  26. The small few who would rather have “Gregg Monroe” and Steve Blake start over Bynum and Ramon Sessions. Neither played well (although Bynum blocked 5 shots in 3 quarters) and Ramon got into the lane at will) but they were not benched. Brown is like Pop. He sticks with the hot lineup. That’s what happened.

  27. To be clear, MWP deserves a suspension, and I expect at least the first round of the playoffs. You can argue that it was “vicious” and “uncalled for” but the bottom line is that it got OKC’s attention and raised the bar. This is only good for us fans, whether you are interested in moral preening or not.

  28. Anonymous @ 19 is me.

  29. Wow…some great comments on the site tonight. It’s obvious that everyone is fired up from what was a great game, filled with many plots and sub-plots.

    Regarding Bynum, I’m coming to the conclusion that Drew may be just too slow to ever be a good pick and roll defender. Maybe what we see as a lack of effort is simply a lack of speed and quickness. I mean, when you see him run, he always looks like the slowest player on the court.

    Drew is at a crossroads. He’s shown the ability to be very, very good and yet, there is something disconcerting about his lack of commitment to team defense and spirit. Maybe his knee condition is more limiting than we know. Maybe he doesn’t like being a Laker anymore. Maybe he doesn’t like playing for Mike Brown. Who knows?

    But, the way I see it, his future is in his hands. He can be whatever he wants to be, unless injury rears its ugly head.

  30. Just to be clear. I don’t want Blake to start over Sessions. Sessions is in a little bit of a slump – and that happens to players from time to time. But he is always consistently putting forward a strong effort. I’m fully confident Sessions is going to have good games and bad games because he’s human, and a PG, and its a volatile position. Blake played well today – give him his props. But he shouldn’t be the starter over Sessions.

    I stand by my words with Bynum. I would much rather have a guy who bangs bodies, gets back on D, is a good teammate, and is still relatively talented (like a guy like Greg Monroe), than Bynum any day of the week.

    Monroe wouldn’t get any 30 rebound games – probably. But I also doubt he’d get many 2 rebound games as well.

    And Bynum was benched. Which is why he was pouting. They could’ve spared Gasol a few minutes there (he was getting gassed), but Brown refused to because he couldn’t turn to Bynum. Brown didn’t trust him.

  31. Bynum was originally suspended only for 6, not 10 or 12. It was reduced to 5 because of the lockout.

    To me Ron’s foul was one of recklessness and not of intentional dirtyness. He was pounding his chest after an emotional play with the momentum on their side. Harden walked right up to him and crowded him right when Ron was pounding and celebrating. Ron wanted to clear him out of the way. But he was too pumped up and not aware of where he was and clocked Harden.

    That’s how I see it. Not defending the brutality of what happened. Or if Harden was right, Artest wrong. Just that it was a blow more out of emotional recklessness than one where he set out to hurt Harden like Bynum did to JJ.

    Again, not an excuse but it seemed to me most of the game, OKC players were constantly bumping and crowding Laker players after a play and not leaving room for a player to turn and go the other way without having some kind of contact.

  32. Aaron, he blocked 5 shots, but they didn’t really help the team out much. He really was lacking effort out there defensively. Offensively, I’ll give him a pass bc it must be frustrating to push and work to get position down low to not get the ball at the most opportune time, but defensively his inability to hedge hard like the other bigs really messes up the rotation. That one play in the third quarter where his man set the pick for Durant and ended up with Durant dunking the ball was because he didn’t hedge.

    After he was out, it was obvious that Pau and Hill were hedging on every Kendrick Perkins Moving Screen (and yes, they were freaking moving screens, but they didn’t call him for it when he was in Boston, and they apparently won’t call him on it now). That hedge really allowed Kobe to come back and guard westbrook and allowed Ebanks to at least challenge Durant’s shots.

    Don’t worry, I still think Bynum is the 2nd best Center in the league, but I would love to see the energy and effort that Hill showed. The emotion by Hill and Ebanks was very refreshing today.

    I don’t think you could argue that Bynum looked to be disinterested in the game, especially in the third quarter. Even kevin Ding tweeted about it: Bynum talking to Westbrook. Fan: “What are you laughing about, Bynum? You’re losing!” … OKC 69, LAL 53.

  33. kehntangibles: With regard to the AB sentence reduction: The 5 game sentence was the original – he actually served 4. To stick with my theme: MWP is a repeat offender, so they might give him the max. Given that AB was given 5 – MWP may get 7-10. Of course in the NBA – there is no chance of parole.

  34. Bynum was suspended for five games — not six, not 12. It’s easily researched on Google. The league trimmed it to four as a result of the shorter season.

    Who knows what Artest will get — he’s punished by reputation too often. To me, this was less than what Bynum did, if only because Harden had no business getting up in his grill while the guy was just celebrating and running back down the floor. Had Harden not put himself there, there’s no incident — key difference from the Bynum/Barea fracas.

  35. Fish’s Big 3 in 3Q Almost Offsets 14 Points, 15 Boards and 3 Blocks From Player He Was Traded For

    Just thinking about possible L.A. Times stories.

  36. 3 games for MWP sounds about right. Due to his past offenses, the league may be a lot harsher. OKC is the league’s darling right now….the team built from scratch though draft choices, that plays in the small market, with the young and marketable stars.

    But somewhere along the way, OKC has become just a tad arrogant and insufferable. They’ve taken on a little of Perkins’ goonish attitude. For a team that has never won, they act like they own the league, IMO. They’re becoming real easy to root against.

  37. “In a correctly-called game of basketball, those fouls get called. In the modern NBA where “aggression” gets rewarded, the Laker post player needs to use his butt, hips and legs to knock down the defender, take the offensive foul call, and inform both the post defender and the referees that he won’t stand for the defender repeatedly fouling him.”
    ——

    Unfortunately, this is very true of today’s NBA. The problem is some players do not have the self control to commit a “message” foul without going overboard. Ron may be one of those players.

  38. We all know here I guessed Mike Brown would insert Hill right before the playoffs. It looks like I was right. I guess Blake would be removed from back up PG duties. I was right again… Sort of ;) I forgot we could keep Blake in the rotation and still remove him from back up PG. He is a spot up shooter after all. It looks like Brown finally decided to let Kobe play back up PG and slide Blake over to his natural spot up shooter spot (the reason we got him). Oh and it also worked sliding Kobe over to PG defensively :)

  39. Ron is a bad man?

    No he us a loose canyon who may have really hurt the Lakers chances if he grtva long suspension. This was a nationally televised game and nit example Dtern will allow.

    Andrew us a bad man?

    Howvabout a primadona who chooses to work hard only when the ball is in his hand.

    Jordan Hill had more offensive rebounds then today then Andrew has had in the past three games.

    That being said today Lakers won by playing 3 subs for 22 minutes who out worked the starters by a long shot.

    We went from probably 5th to 3rd and we owe it all to Jordan Hill and the guy who gave us him for nothing in return.

    Thank You!

  40. Pau gets a rap for being “soft” and I’ve criticized him in the past for passivity–not today. There is nothing about his play that suggests a replay of last year’s playoffs.

    With all of the buzz about Kobe’s and Blake’s big 3′s, Hill’s big show-out, and Ebanks’ “D”–(all great efforts for sure) El Spaniard put up 20-14-9 against Ibanka and Perkins–good show.

  41. Why I love Kobe Bryant. When asked why he was guarding Russell Westbrook he replied, ” Well, he cooked us the last time we played and figured that if was gonna cook us, then I wanted him to cook me.”

    Awesome.

    On MWP. I don’t think that he intentionally elbowed Harden. I do think that Harden tried to provoke him and got burnt. I think MWP deserved the ejection. I think that he also deserves a 2 game suspension.

    The Thunder have been trying to provoke the Lakers in every game this year. Perkins commits hard fouls and then stands over players and “asserts his dominance” by forcing them to walk around him while he stares them down. He has instilled a bully mentality into that team just like there was in Boston.

    Harden has been talking $hi# all year to Kobe or anyone else who would listen. Again, I don’t think that the elbow was the right response from Metta, and I definitely don’t think that was the response that Harden wanted or expected. It was A response, however, and Harden was looking for something that he could flop from. I would bet my life on that.

    Jordan Hill! What a great performance from him. I just wish that our most dominant best player (Andrew Bynum) would give that effort every game.

  42. This is really a mixed bag for the Lakers. I thoroughly enjoyed the game of the year. However, I am not clear whether this will prove to be a good day for us. We have the win and the emergence of Hill on the good side, vs. the MWP suspension, a 2nd rnd match up against OKC, the AB pouting, and possibly some lack of confidence from RS as well. I need to see how Stern this MWP penalty is going to be.

  43. Sorry I typoed the Kobe quote. It should have been-
    “He cooked us last time … I figured if he was going to cook us he was going to have to cook me.” KBB

    I feel like we can beat the Thunder, but only if we play one of our bigs at a time. Twin towers is a great concept, but it seems like it is more of a liability against certain teams. If teams are going to go undersized against us or play a stretch 4, then we *must make them pay for that when we have the ball. Our two towers don’t always do that. OKC is allowed to root our big guys out of the post or hold them and swim them like Aaron brought up.

  44. Ah, I stand corrected on Bynum’s original suspension. 10-being-reduced-to-5 (as I misremembered it) seemed a bit off.

  45. Nice to have that little edge, nor argument there, but the delivery could have been a bit more subtle.

    Like Kobe shooting with his elbow sticking out or something.

    Not that I condone Kobe risking any part of his body to send a message. That should be reserved for, uhm, Fish. Btw, I hope Fish doesn’t elbow any of our guys in the PO to send a message, but I can sort of see that happening.

    Well, even if MWP is suspended, we have Barnes to step up…

  46. Macho Wanna Piece–I love Ron but am sick to my stomach about that elbow. OKC is a physical team that gets away with a lot (Boston-stlye moving picks, Westbrook’s LBJ-style barreling into defenders, lots of pushing, grabbing, and fouls by crowding) and Ron probably didn’t forget that shot to his nose earlier and Hardin had no business leaning into him when he was in gorilla celebration mode, but nothing excuses that swing of the elbow above the shoulder level–catch a guy right and a career could be over.

    Bynum didn’t show any team spirit on the bench. When OKC missed at the end of regular and overtime periods and the bench jumped up cheering, he sat and sulked. This from a guy who can’t be bothered to run or play focused D with consistency. Rebounds are about desire and 30 one game and 2 another (despite the % opponents shoot- think OR) is unacceptable. Lacks tenacity and focus.

  47. FYI

    Reason Barnes didn’t play the last 25 minutes was because he sprained his ankle.

    So we again can’t Brown credit as both his SF were not able to play.

  48. i hate James Harden! I hate his stupid beard, his fake mohawk, his goofy big feet and especially the way he disrespected Kobe.

    Call me crazy but I loved Artest teaching him a lesson!!! haha, way to go World Peace!!! Harden deserved it!

    I know im not the only one who thinks this way!

    GO LAKERS!!!

  49. Anonymous @ 42. I sure hope you are the only Lakers fan that thinks this way.

  50. Anno

    When he suspended for the first round will you still live him?

    When he gets amnestied for disgracing the uniform after last year AB thug swat aganist Dallas will you still ove him.

    When kids like my 7 year old think it’s cool and try to emulate him will you still love him.

    We now have no Artest and no Barnes with bad
    ankle for 1st round and you love the guy.

    You can’t buy class and I am disgusted with him.

  51. The hit was unclean and should be condemned. That said, I’m all for more physicality. Just channeled the appropriate way. Kendrick Perkins especially gets away with an inordinate amount of contact after the whistle. Today, he tried to obstruct Ebanks’ path and gave him a solid bump. Last time, he brought down a forearm shiver on Gasol’s neck and then held his arm there for the official to see, taunting Gasol and daring him to push it off. As nasty as Artest’s hit was, I probably wouldn’t have minded if he had clocked Perkins instead of Harden. Perkins is constantly pushing the physicality to inappropriate levels and needs to be dealt with in a similar fashion.

  52. CDog – I think that if you limit the sample size to actual Laker fans, then you don’t need to worry about any feeling this way.

    Particularly after Kobe had his face broken by Wade at the ASG, I don’t think that any actual Laker fan condones contact above the shoulders. Any with a swinging elbow… just not good.

    Artest will most likely be sitting for the majority of the 1st round. All of it if we manage to sweep.

  53. To all the idiots who say ron’s elbow was unintenional or whatever. He pounded his chest with his right hand then cocked back threw a elbow with his left. he knew harden was there and he swung on him. Forget if he intended to hit him he intended to swing that elbow at someone. Honestly I’ll be surprised if he plays in the postseason. No room for that on the Lakers if you noticed Kobe was getting pushed around all game he kept his cool and came thru.

  54. Westbrook 3 -22 today shooting 40% in april. His erratic shooting can lose okc a series.

  55. Kevin-
    Just because I disagree with your assessment of MWP on that play does not make me an idiot. I’m not going trade insults with you man, but you should take it down a notch or two.

  56. Is it just me or are the Clippers playing themselves down to the fifth seed? Not complaining or anything, just observing.

  57. I definitely do not condone the vicious shot to the head – however, the refs just plain suck. They let teams like OKC get away with murder and can see how the players would get upset over the course of the season. Kobe gets trashed when he drives the lane and no calls. This goes on all the time while durant/westbrook get tickled and get the foul.

    Perkins – i just can’t stand him and his stupid scowl. he brought that bully mentality to okc and now i can’t stand this team either. i really liked them before since durant seemed like a humble guy and westbrook was from ucla – but now westbrook is a stuck up turd.

    I HATE Miami – but beginning to hate harden, perkins and okc just as much.

    But if players want to be jerk offs, expect to get hit. Look at blake griffin – people and players beginning to hate him because he is a jerk after his dunks. Dude should just dunk it and be cool. but he disrespects other players and eventually you reap what you sow. I mean that one play where the guy actually tackled Blake – wasn’t it the NO game? Fans were cheering because Blake is a turd.

  58. These buffoons on the Clipper telecasts are really clueless. They couldn’t even foresee how this game with the Hornets was a total trap game for the Clippers.

    Nothing more these former Clippers and former teammates of Chris Paul would rather do than spoil the Clippers going away party for 2012.

    Doing a pretty good job of it so far I’d have to say. Of course they still have to seal the deal.

  59. I found this link from the J.A. Adande article on the daily dime. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/dailydime

    It is an unofficial compilation of NBA fines and suspension dating back to the 1994-95 season.

    http://www.eskimo.com/~pbender/fines.html#11-12

    Elbows typically receive 1-2 game suspension but in Artest’s case, with him being a repeat offender and with the NBA’s focus on concussions, the NBA might send a message when they suspend MWP.

  60. The only thing a dislike more then Perkins and James is that Clipper announcer with his BINGO !

  61. Ron Artest deserves to be suspended for a lot of games. That elbow was awful. If someone elbowed any of the Lakers and knocked him out like that, I’d be dumbfounded if they didn’t face a huge suspension. There is no “but OKC…” following my feelings on this.

    Lakers got a win that felt really good today. I quite enjoyed the finish and execution on both sides of the ball down the stretch by the Lakers.

    I’m excited to see how the playoffs play out across the league. OKC, San Antonio, Miami, and Chicago have all played periods of dominant basketball and should be titanic forces. Lakers? I hope they’ll find a rhythm and play the spoiler.

  62. Refs just missed a call on reggie evans who went right under smith in a dirty play and then gave Paul 3 free throws on an intentional foul because smith was injured – screw stern and stu Jackson

  63. What happened to the best center in the league? Dude was -18 in 29 min. He is the most valuable loafer in the league.

  64. WOW – biggest flop of the year becomes a flagrant 2 – the league is becoming the next wrestling league cause it is too blatant that the refs are one sided

  65. Clipper commentators are horrible – oh well guess we need to play Thursday

  66. MWP’S elbow to the head has no place in the game of basket…period!

    However, Harden has a tendency to brush-bump a player after a bucket’s made, that’s his MO. Go back and watch a few OKC games and see if somehow or another Harden doesn’t brush-bump players after made baskets.

    That’s a little irritating play to get under another teams skin. Ebanks got an offensive rebound late in the game and stood out-of-bounds with his back to the court looking into the crowd. When Perkins stepped behind him and pushed him in the back.

    Now what would have happened if Ebanks was the type of player that didn’t take nothing from nobody? Had that been a player like Derek Fisher a scuffle would have ensued.

    BTW, Blake Griffin does the same thing in the games against the Lakers, specifically to Sessions and Goudelock.

  67. Do you guys think EBanks did a great job on KEvin Durant, or did Durant just missed his normal jumpers? I appreciate Ebanks’ effort, but it looked like Durant missed a lot of shots he normally would make.
    To the people who know a lot of basketball: what was your take after watching the game?

  68. Yeah, I don’t think MWP was head hunting, He threw his right arm back before anyone was there. And then he threw his left. He does this all the time. He doesn’t do a one-armed celebration, he uses BOTH arms, each and every time. And exactly why did Harden run up and get into his back like that? MWP had just scored. He was headed back up the floor.

    That said, Peace should have controlled himself. You gotta be aware of your actions. And he did clock Harden, hard. So, obviously there needs to be a punishment. I think 2 or 3 games is right but the league will come down harder – there’s history there. 5-7 range, probably.

  69. Chearn – I saw the Perkins shove too. And then he stood in Ebanks way. Really good point about Harden getting up on people.

  70. Pretty sure Ron – Ron is gone for the year.

    How can anyone forget that this man was personally responsible for producing the single ugliest melee in Pro basketball history and is always going to be held to an entirely different standard than anyone else as a result of that?

    And that is how it should be. Just imagine if that elbow today had produced a Kermit Washington type outcome and ended somebody’s career the way Washington ended Rudy T’s?

    There’s no room for anything close to that. Even if it was a retaliatory response which it clearly was not.

    If I was Stern I’d suspend him indefinitely which would mean through the rest of the season and perhaps well into next year.

    Obviously the guy didn’t get the message the first time around. The question I’d have if I was Stern is will he ever get the message or is he just this ticking time bomb set to go off again.

  71. davem: tell me where he threw his right arm back. or did he pound his chest with his right hand and throw a elbow with his left.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSSjtEMm8YA&feature=related

    Guys trying to slightly justify a blatant cheap shot elbow by saying harden shouldn’t have got in his face. He deserves indefinite suspension any other team fans would be looking for double digits.

  72. Kenoak @ 39: ” … and Harden was looking for something that he could flop from.”

    Well, Harden definitely got “something”.

    Maybe a little more than he was looking for.

  73. Last thing on the elbow Harden was trying to get out the way to get the inbounds.

    Laker fans may finally see Goudelock. It’s either him or Morris on the rotation now.

  74. People saying that Harden “deserved it” are embarrassing themselves. No one deserves to be elbowed in the head with the result being a concussion. No one.

    I’m not going to judge Ron’s intent here. I’m not in his head and don’t know what he was thinking. But, he made a terrible error with the elbow and will likely, and deservedly, be suspended for it.

  75. I haven’t read the comments yet but I can’t imagine anyone actually saying Harden deserved anything close to an elbow to the head. That’s just impossible to imagine.

  76. Darius is correct. Doesn’t matter if Harden was talking trash or whatever, Intent doesn’t really matter, nor does Artest’s history–unless there are written rules in place that apply directly to the situation–X Flagrants over Y years, “blows to the head and neck” etc. An elbow to the head is an elbow to the head.

    If the uspension is just a case of “We need to send him a message”, that is simply another example of Stern having too much power.

  77. Hey, remember how Derek Fisher “blew up” Luis Scola in the playoffs back in 2009?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_EMke5Rxlk

    Other than the fact that Fisher is 6’1″ and Scola is 6’9″, so Fisher’s elbow would have to be up around his hairline to hit Scola in the neck, is it really that different from what TAFKARA/MWP did to Harden?

    Also, MWP’s elbow seemed to be a “heat of the moment” thing while Fisher leveling Scola looks much more premeditated.

    Fisher received a one-game suspension.

    Why should MWP’s be more?

    Are we making these punishments outcome-based, like NBA refs call flagrant fouls? Where when a 180-lb point guard gets bumped by a 290-lb center and falls to the deck it’s a flagrant foul, but if a 180-lb point guard headlocks a 290-lb center, it’s just a regular foul?

    Note: I think WMP’s flagrant and ejection were fully warranted. I also think a suspension is not out of line. But so much of this seems to be based on “how bad does it make the league look?”, not on the actual parameters of the infraction.

    I felt similarly about Bynum’s suspension for hitting J.J. Barea. Yes, it was a flagrant 2. Yes, he deserved ejection. Yes, he was an idiot for taking off his jersey and acting like it was the WWF. But the announcers acted like he had shot someone, and I think that influenced the length of the subsequent suspension.

  78. What do you want to bet Harden’s “concussion like symptoms” will miraculously heal immediately after Stern hands down his suspension.

  79. Welcome back Ron. I’ve missed you.

    Too bad we won’t have you for the rest of the year. Sigh.

  80. Kobe says the scoring title isn’t important to him. I’m thinking he will go 40+ against the Kings.

  81. I will 2nd that. As a 40 year Laker fan I count Ron’s actions to be one of, if not the most embarrassing thug move for the Lakers.

    Truth be told he should have been banned for the Detroit incident and I never wanted him on this team. As a father who watched the game with my 7 year old son, I hope Ron Artest never plays a game for the Lakers again.

    There is to much violence in the world and acts like this become a excuse for more violence.

  82. Wow. Darius man, I’m sorry. Those of us that write are always grateful to those that read, with few exceptions. These would standout as such exceptions.

  83. Jesse,
    Today is exceptionally wild. The main offender has been blocked, though.

  84. it’s a very competitive physical contest and elbows get thrown like they always have. heck, i saw Shaq try to kill a man more than once with a fist.

    yes, it’s scary that Harden got hit in the head. hopefully, he’s not seriously injured. yes, he had a part to play in the matter. he’s very competitive.

    it’s just an elbow in basketball, it happens. it’s part of the game like turned ankles, wrecked knees and seperated shoulders. i don’t for a minute believe that there was criminal intent. i do believe that MWP wanted Harden off of him and he acted directly.

    it’s clear that there is a suspension due, and that the ejection was proper. let’s not get this out of proportion, or rather, let’s hope the league official don’t take this out of proportion. 1 game is probably not serious enough of a penalty for such a dangerous move. 5 games is heavy handed and 10 is outrageous.

    while i’m not happy that it happened the way that it did, that someone got hurt, i’m glad that someone stepped up and matched the physicality that the team has been facing. perhaps if the whole Lakers team was a bit more testy, young athletic teams wouldn’t feel so safe taking bully tactics. i’m not against a good hard foul, and plenty of them if needed, but only in return for physical play and not to injure.

    this is a grown man’s competition. it is physical. it is an organized battle. it should be seriously competed while on the court. it doesn’t have to be nice.

  85. There were some positives today

    The lineup that finished the game only had 2 offensive threats on the floor. blake, kobe, ebanks, hill, pau lineup brought so much energy. speed with some length that can cover ground. With Kuester back and with bynum’s loafing if lakers can execute on offense as well as they did today (the kobe-pau PnR was in full effect) I see no reason why that lineup can’t finish games. The bulls can afford to do something similiar because of offensive execution. I’m hoping lakers can do the same.

    Hill’s PnR defense was excellent today. He showed got back to his man and he would switch and take Pau’s man sometimes. When Bynum checked back in thunder next 2 plays were dunks.

    The box score doesn’t tell kobe’s impact on the game. He had a lebron like close with the control of the game on offense and defense sprinkled in with his legendary shot making. He controlled lakers offense and made the right plays.

    Let’s hope lakers lock up the 3 seed before thursday having a week off would be big espicially for pau.

  86. Yes, enough with the hyperbole.

    This is not much worse than what Fisher did to Scola in that playoff game, and Fisher got a 1 game suspension.
    In both cases, players were on the ground with both players fairly stationary.
    And Fisher’s hit was harder, a solid shoulder and head hit into Scola’s chest and chin.
    And it’s not as bad as what Love did to Scola, and Love got 2 games.
    Poor Scola. He’s got to be thinking “What the heck?”.

    For those of you who started watching basketball in the 90′s or later, go watch McHale’s literal clothesline around the neck of Rambis in a playoff game.
    2 shot foul. No techs. McHale wasn’t even tossed from that game. And a multi-game suspension didn’t even cross anyone’s mind.
    A 6’8″ power forward on a fast break falling about 2-3 feet onto his back from in the air after he’d left his feet.
    And the announcers saying “Well you knew it would happen” and “It’s part of the game, you know”.

    It’s hilarious and ludicrous listening to the hyperbole from the talking heads commenting on this foul, trying to outdo each other.

    MWP’s was a hard foul, and unfortunately, since MWP wasn’t looking at who it was, it ended up on Hardin’s head instead of a taller player’s chest.

    And Hardin is one of OKC’s agitators. By the way he moved into MWP’s path, he was trying to start something. Hardin got what he wanted but more than he planned.

    1-3 games at most is what MWP should get.

  87. With Ron’s past, I would not be surprised if he is out for the year.

  88. While the hot topic is Ron, the more important basketball topic (to me) is what to make of Hill vs. Bynum on PnR defense. Is it a scheme issue, with MB now having Bynum hang back in the paint? Is it effort? Or is Bynum really just too slow? Does he not have the endurance to show hard and recover on every play, and carry an offensive load?
    Because we have to combine Bynum’s offense with the defensive effort/quickness from last night in order to advance deep. It’s something we have to figure out. Because Bynum’s not Shaq – he’s not so dominant offensively that it absolves him from having to guard the pick and roll.

    It was a thrilling, exciting win. And it took Kobe hero mode against a team missing it’s best playmaker and decision-maker. I have a (pessimistic) feeling that we’ll look back on this game as the highlight of our April/May games.

  89. “Nobody deserves” that’s the new America, people believe they should be able to say and do what they want with no threat of violence.

    Some people aren’t going to put up with it, you accept your consequences( elbow to the head and forthcoming suspension) and move on.

    Grown men acting outraged over an elbow is pathetic.

  90. @Plan9FOS finally a guy who understands that this is a game of physicality. If anybody does not want to get hurt then they should play chess or a board game. I am not saying that what Ron Artest did was absolutely right but people here are condemning the guy. Everything started in the 1st quarter when Ron Artest was fouled by Durant on a drive then Ibaka clealrly left an elbow on Ron’s face while falling down. That was a clear cheap shot on Ibaka that led to Ron’s bloody nose that continuously drape over the court even after he took free throws. What I am trying to say is if you call white on the other player you should also call it white against the other. Simply said the refs should have called the game fairly for players to understand what is the parameters of physicality. If it is Ron Artest and Kobe Bryant that is being hacked, pushed, shoved and elbow no fouls are being called while if Durant, Westbrook and other thunder players are tickled and touched a foul will surely be called. That is why I love the 80′s and have so much respect on the legends that played in that era. They played the game as it is, with passion physicality and respect. Nowadays the game is more commercialized with the league treating the players like infants. There is only one guy in the league that treats the game the way the legends treat it during the 80′s and that is Kobe. A fine is mor appropriate for what Ron Artest did and No suspension should be meted out against him.

  91. I watched the complete game twice, so I knew what was coming in the 2nd qtr and was able to rerun what I wanted as much as I wanted.

    MWP certainly deserved the flagrant 2 and a suspension.

    Now that I got that out of the way, I have absolutely nothing good to say about the ABC announcers – especially the play-by-play guy. They sounded like Fox News, in that they were playing it for its effect on inflaming the audience, rather than reporting on what they saw. They made everything worse.

    If you watch carefully, MWP was celebrating and looking at the paying customers when he swung his elbow. I’m not trying to say he didn’t see Harden, but a) I doubt he recognized it was Harden, and b) I doubt he realized he was that close. His mind was in the play he just completed, not on any situation on the floor. The fact that he simply left him there and continued down the floor without any expression on his face indicates he wasn’t looking for trouble.

    Whatever the suspension, the announcers inflamed the rest of us and I turned them off the 2nd time around shortly after the incident. This is sports reporting at it’s worst.

  92. @Snoopy: McMenamin got some responses from Brown regarding pick and roll defense, indicating that they’d rather see Bynum contest hard, but give him leeway to sit back and challenge late as long as it works (which to my eye it hasn’t):

    http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/lakers/post/_/id/29699/where-was-bynum#more

    Excerpt: Brown said Hill particularly gave the Lakers a lift with his pick-and-roll defense compared to Bynum.

    “I did not think that Drew, and even Pau at times, the combination of both those bigs were up the floor in pick-and-roll coverage,” Brown said. “Just Jordan Hill’s activity at the point of the screen was better than all of our bigs combined tonight.”

    Added Brown: “I know in pick-and-roll coverage, if we tell our bigs — whether it’s Andrew or Pau or whoever — to be up the floor, if you’re not up the floor at the point of the screen and we’re getting hurt and somebody is [playing up on screens], then somebody else is going to play. If we give our guys a coverage, then they’ve got to do it.”

    Brown would not place the blame purely on Bynum’s effort. He suggested that Bynum sometimes should stay back in the lane rather than helping on pick-and-rolls because he feels like he has enough length to cover ground late should the guard get into the lane following the screen. That choice by Bynum goes against what Brown is asking him to do.

    “Sometimes it is effort, sometimes I don’t know what he’s thinking,” Brown said.

    Bynum was critical of his own performance as well.

    “I didn’t think I was posting up hard,” Bynum said, echoing his sentiments after a Lakers loss to the Wizards in March when he admitted he wasn’t playing hard. “They were fronting me and I was just kind of letting it happen. I wasn’t being aggressive. The only thing that needs to change being aggressive and I’m going come out aggressive in the next game.”

    Brown said Hill’s surprise performance earned him playing time in the future as the Lakers head toward the playoffs, effectively leap-frogging him above Josh McRoberts and Troy Murphy in the rotation for the time being.

    It sounds like Bynum’s defense will determine whether Hill will continue to dip into Bynum’s minutes as well.

  93. Craig,

    I didn’t watch the game but checked the ESPN site score around halftime and notice that Ron had been tossed. My first thought was being happy that I didn’t have to hear whatever mouth-foaming rhetoric that ABC announcers might spew. Now, reading your post, Fox News style seems dead on to my suspicions.

    Plan 9, Marques,
    Right on

  94. I was out and only caught the last part of the 4th quarter and the overtimes, so I was pretty lucky in that regard. Great effort and a satisfying win (if you disregard the MWP ejection)

    I read somewhere that Barnes got nicked up. What’s his prognosis like? We’re going to need him to step up in Artest’s absence, at least for the first round

  95. If my memory serves me correctly, the Lakers played the pick and roll differently early in the season. Let’s say that Pau’s man came up to set the pick, Pau hedged hard while Bynum picked up Pau’s roll man and the weak side wing dropped down to the big that Bynum had just left. Pau then would scramble back to pick up Bynum’s guy, sending the weak side helper back to his original assignment.

    In my memory this strategy worked quite well, even if it sometimes kept the best shotblocker out of the paint for some possessions. At least it seemed to discourage the penetration that Parker or Westbrook and the like usually kill us with. This strategy becomes a bit more problematic with teams who run a lot of middle pick and rolls, but I’d much prefer it over the mixed bag we’re seeing now.

  96. It is so ironic that Artest changed his name to Metta World Peace. Oxymoron

    To any Lakers fan who takes his elbow lightly, go ask someone who isn’t a fan of the Lakers, they would laugh at anyone saying it isn’t a big deal or that he only deserves 1-3 games. On average the minimum people think is 5 games, with many saying a post season ban should be served based on his prior actions. In today’s world of protecting pro athletes from concussions, it is perfectly logical to suspend someone a minimum of 5 games for this (whether you agree with the culture or not).

  97. I asked earlier but I’ll ask again:
    Do you guys think EBanks did a great job on KEvin Durant, or did Durant just missed his normal jumpers? I appreciate Ebanks’ effort, but it looked like Durant missed a lot of shots he normally would make.
    To the people who know a lot of basketball: what was your take after watching the game?

  98. Takeaways from the game:

    1. ‘Queensbridge Projects Ron’ reappeared and it wasn’t a good look. Cheap Shot/Dirty Play wasn’t warranted @ all IMO. In no way, shape or form was Harden tryin’ to impede his movements or instigate him. He was, as another poster remarked earlier, was tryin’ to position himself for the inbounds. I predict a heavy fine and a 5 game suspension.

    2. Jordan Hill solidified a spot in the Playoff Rotation.

    3. Ebanks, because of ‘Queensbridge Ron’s actions, will have a spot in the Playoff Rotation. I, for one, was hoping that Coach Mike Brown was leaning in that direction anyway due to Ebanks solid, if not spectacular, play during Kobe’s injury.

    4. Simply Put: Bynum is a ‘Slouch’

    5. Much Respect to Coach Mike Brown for sticking to his guns and riding the unit that got us back in, and eventually, led us to victory in the game.

    6. Kobe, as gassed as he was, stepped up like the true general that he is and willed us to victory .. Take Lessons, ‘Slouch’

    Finally, with all that being said and a gritty come from behind victory yesterday, I agree with Funky Chicken @ 14. If we happen to cross paths with this Thunder team in the 2nd round, nothing from yesterday’s game allows me to believe that we’ll be able to beat them 4 out of 7. I hope that I’m incorrect.

  99. It is different with Artest, because he clearly has major rage issues, and he loses his self control. He needs to be shown that he cannot, under any circumstance, loes control if he is going to be in the league.

    He needs to be out for the whole playoffs. Seriously.

  100. Si.com Has a poll. 44% believe Artest will be suspended for 10+ games. The next closest is 5-6 at 17%.

  101. I hardly ever agree with Skip Bayless, but he is spot on in this MWP incident. How the heck does no one else see that Harden absolutely knew what he was doing? He walked over to bump MWP and interrupt his celebration of dunking on Ibaka. This is what the Thunder do. It’s what the Celtic’s do. They get in opposing players heads and try to push the envelope of physicality. They try to assert their dominance.

    For years I have been complaining that other teams are allowed to play with more physicality than our Lakers. The Thunder were continuing that trend yesterday and Harden was walking up to bump MWP. Then Ron Artest showed up and I guarantee that Harden won’t do that again.

    Once again. I do not condone the elbow- although I don’t think that he intentionally went at Harden’s head. I don’t even think that he knew it was Harden. If it would have been Perkins, then the elbow would have hit his chest. He had to be ejected and he must be suspended, but like others have said it shouldn’t be 5 times as long as K-Love for stomping on a guys head!

    Darius. For the record, I am *not saying that Harden deserved an elbow to the head. I *do think that he deserved a response of some kind. Maybe a push/shove and a stare. You don’t taunt/test a player like MWP. You don’t taunt/test a player like Barkeley, Oakley, Mason, Mailman, Kareem, Olajuwon, Shaq! Some of the greatest players that ever lived had short fuses. You didn’t test these guys because if you did, you were going to feel it. You just don’t do it.

  102. Casual fan,
    As always it’s a little bit of Collumn A and a little bit of Collumn B. But Durant was not used to going against a player as long as he is. Yes Durant was able to get off long shots but he had to step back hard to get away from Ebanks length to get off thee shots. Having said that when adjutant gets hot he can score on anyone not named Ron Artest.

  103. Speaking of Artest… I don’t want to talk anymore about the elbow… Ow about the dunk on Durant and Ibaka that proceded the elbow? What is this guy on now? That was his third dunk of the half.

  104. Doesn’t really matter how MWP was playing anymore.

    I don’t foresee he plays another Laker game until at least the mid 2nd round.

    The outrage by fans seems excessive – and DStern is going to respond by over punishing.

    For some reason there is a deterrence concept – though this very same concept isn’t used against: Wade (throwing Rip Hamilton in the stands), Wade again (intentionally smacking a face in an All-star game and breaking another’s nose), Raja Bell (grabbing Kobe by the neck in a playoff game and throwing him to the ground), Westbrook (throwing Lebron down while he was in the air), Durant (poking Kobe in the eye as retaliation), Lebron (lowering his shoulder into a 5’9 backup pg on a back pick), Perkins (putting hands into Pau Gasols neck on MULTIPLE plays in 1 game w/o even a flagrant)…. etc etc.

    Its called a double standard. And its not against just Lakers – but it is against certain players.

    Lets just be clear – If Wade makes the same play Artest does – the announcers will talk about how “tough” Miami is playing these days (see the rip Hamilton shove out of bounds)

    The suspension should be 5 games. That feels like the right number.

    If its more, DStern should be ashamed of himself – there is no proportionality principle when the treatment is unfair across the league.

  105. Cdog@104

    I pretty much agree with you entirely… Let’s add a couple more to that. K-Love stomping on Scola’s face. D-Fish leveling Scola. Blake Griffen elbowing Pau in the face en route to his posterizing dunk.

    I could be okay with 5 games. That means he misses the entire 1st round of the playoffs. I have a feeling that Stern will keep him out for the year.

  106. i predicted a 12 game ban and looking at the media fallout this morning I am sticking to it. The rhetoric has been crazy with some saying he should be banned for life! This mood is going really spur on Stern.
    Just to think Kevin Love only got a 2 game ban for stomping on Scola’s head. I didnt hear any hysteria back then

  107. Exactly!!! Love stepped on Scolas face!!! He only got two games!!! Stepping on someone’s face is just as dangerous!! If Artest gets more than three games I will be suprised.

  108. A couple of things –

    1. I honestly don’t think Artest meant to do what he did. I mean *Kendrick Perkins* of all people says he didn’t think it was intentional!!! That being said, I have to agree with Adande – add a +2 to how many ever games Harden sits out.

    2. For those of you who said Harden deserved it because of the trash he was giving Kobe, here’s what Kobe had to say:

    3. Here’s a clip of Laker highlights from yesterday:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJpwl_bSivY
    Check the hit Westbrook lays on Bynum at the 2:23 mark, and tell me if that warrants a suspension – wasn’t that a shot to the face as well?

  109. I’m not saying the MWP elbow was aimed at Harden, but it was without a doubt, intentional. He felt someone on him, lifted his elbow and followed through without ever turning around to see who he clocked.

    I read many of you saying OKC was crowding and getting away with all sorts of stuff. If so, then okay. That’s the refs doing a poor job. That doesn’t excuse a player for elbowing another player. Even if Harden was saying all kinds of crap to MWP, it’s not an excuse. That happens during every game. It’s part of the game – a way to get into your opponents head.

    For those saying it was justified, you’re saying that every time a player gets tired of bad calls or jawing, it’s cool to handle things yourself with whatever means necessary? Nah. He’s a grown man. He needs to handle things accordingly instead of acting like a thug.

    Hopefully his poor decision won’t be a determent to the rest of the team in the playoffs. I personally think the Lakers are better without him. I’ve got no respect for a dude like that.

  110. Sorry, @ 108, I forgot to mention what Kobe had to say about Harden (from ESPN):
    “I can’t speculate (how many games),” Bryant said. “I’m sure he’ll have some type of a suspension. And James, I hope he’s OK. I haven’t heard anything about how he’s doing, but he’s one of my favorite players in the league, one of my young boys, so I hope he’s doing all right.”

  111. Cdog and KenOak are spot-on. No one is saying that Harden should be elbowed in the head so hard that he gets a concussion, but he clearly was trying to screw with MWP by getting in his face and bumping him, as he/Perkins do all the time (the Clippers for that matter too). Sometimes physical outbursts happen. Scola got clotheslined by Fisher and HEAD-STOMPED by Love in the past, leading to one game suspensions, and Durant pulled off an obvious aimed, retaliatory eye poke on Kobe this game and got nothing. MWP got bowed earlier that game and bled everywhere. Let’s not pretend that we were watching the senior PGA tour and that any contact is abhorrent.

    JA Adande had an interesting link in his daily dime post that showed the league history of fines for various things, back to 1994. Elbows tend to get one game suspensions, in normal seasons and not playoff games. This includes Kenyon Martin elbowing Melvin Ely in the eye, fracturing his eye socket. That sounds a little worse, and Kenyon does have a rep. He got a game. Elbows without head or neck contact don’t even generate ejections at all, it looks like. Given that this is a shortened season and playoff games are usually valued at about 3ish regular season games, it would be a ridiculous overreaction by Stern to levy a suspension greater than the last game of the season + the first couple of games of the playoffs given Ron’s history (he’s been very good his last 4-5 years though). That is not to say Stern won’t do worse. Banning Artest past the first round is a death sentence to the Lakers playoff hopes, though, after a CBA that was aimed squarely at them. (Cartman might say something about at least taking him out to dinner first…)

    The Miami locker room thinks that 5 games is about right, according to JA – why is it that only the slenderest and least athletic of commentators seem to be calling for his head? He was immediately apologetic, which can’t be said for most people who make admittedly intentional statement hits that result in minor injuries.

    Extremely encouraging game, though. What a comeback! Lakers scored more in the second OT than in the entire 3rd Q.

  112. If the Lakers were in a dogfight for the #1 overall seed and Kendrick Perkins took out the Lakers’ third best player with a concussion-inducing elbow to the head, and the Lakers went on to lose in double-OT, how many games would people on this board say Perkins deserved?

    We’d be calling him a dirty thug, claiming that the act was clearly intended to injure, and saying he’s a “repeat offender” who deserves no mercy.

  113. MWP should be suspended. Unless, however, there are specific rules in place that apply to what he did and to his track record, then I don’t see any reason he should take a bigger hit than Bynum did. If it is 10-12 games or whatever, and there is no specific justification for that beyond “Stern is the Commissioner, so he can do what he wants” then I will not be behind it.

  114. OKC has clearly adopted the attitude that Perkins brought with him from the Celtics and that attitude is “I will not allow you to get an advantage on me…in any way”
    And it manifests itself in various ways.
    After you make a great play, I will interrupt your celebration because I don’t want you to fire up your teammates.
    If I foul you and knock you down, I’ll stand over you for a second and stare you down to impose my dominance.
    I will stand in your way and make YOU walk around me in order to impose my will on you.
    Do these things often enough, and retaliation of some kind is coming.
    I think RonRon wanted to give him a clear out elbow to the back and he caught him on the ear.
    That’s life.

  115. @Funky Chicken That is 100% correct… And Lakers fans would be right. Elbows like that should never happen. Doesn’t matter who they’re thrown by.

  116. 111. All of that is contextual and in my opinion therefore irellevent. The action is the only thing that should be judged, not the before during or after

  117. 112. I meant in reply to Funky Chicken

  118. Kaifa – great link, thanks. More worrying/interesting to me is that all of Brown’s quotes are defense-related (and all of us saw the difference on the PnR defense) but Bynum’s select quotes seem to indicate he thinks he was benched because of his poor offense. Again, it seems like he’s thinking offense first.

    Craig W – You’re right on. Breen’s commentary was an embarrassment to ABC and himself. I actually thought JVG was restrained earlier on. Breen (who I like as a play by play guy) just went on and on, like a broken record.

    Casual Fan – good question. I think Ebanks’ defense in isolation was as good as you can expect. Maybe he gave Durant a bit too much room to shoot. But Ebanks definitely got hung up on Perkins’ screens way too much. Durant got several open shots coming off screens; Ebanks doesn’t have the strength to fight over those screens, and it doesn’t help that Perkins sets moving screens half the time. But yeah, I think a large part of it was Durant just missing shots.

  119. ps the vegas line is 7.5 games

  120. James,
    How can we bet on that? Damn. This is stealing money. Bynum was suspended 6 games for making a much more dangerous play in a playoff game.

  121. The elbow was intentional only in the sense that when MWP threw it, he intended to throw it. However, it was not premediated. Harden bumped MWP on purpose, and MWP overreacted in the heat of the moment. It was not as if MWP planned a revenge foul (e.g., Fisher/Scola) or initiated the situation (e.g., Bynum/Barrera). This was more a “get the f- out of my way” elbow than a “I’m taking you down” elbow.

    The fact that Harden started it does not give MWP free license to throw the elbow, but it is an important fact that should not be lost, especially in deciding the severity of MWP’s suspension.

  122. As a basketball fan, I would not condone the unnecessary and excessive elbow celebration by MWP, it is justifiable if he gets suspended with few games “but” as a Laker fan I’m extremely happy to open the germs emanating from Pandorra’s box ushering that Lakers are no push over. It is tiresome to keep on hearing Harden trash talks on Lakers and complete disrespect on their turf. There is no fairness on his mouth which is also allowed by Refs to go on without any kind punishment. That bad Artest resurrection is what he got from continuous trash talking. “what goes around comes around” in some other aspect that you would not expect. Yes, the assailant will be punished but he got the brunt of pains from what he did as undeterred trash talker. Nobody would approve what Artest did on which MWP would suffer the consequences, nonetheless, in basketball it’s just part of the game of “pay back”.

  123. The more I think about it… How in the world can you suspend MWP for more than three playoff games? Jason Smith got two regualr season games for tackling Blake Griffen in the open court, I mean just laying him out. That’s a much more dangerous play and premeditated. Kevin Love got two regular season games for stomping on Scola’s face. If Ron Artest gets more than three playoff games some will correctly ask if race has anything to do with the suspension.

  124. @ # 112, Funky Chicken:

    Exactly. You nailed it.

  125. I have been entertaining out of town visitors but connected with the game through Ireland and Mychal. Finally, I was also vindicated in trying to lob for Gordon Hill and Deven Ebanks. If these two players played in the past games where we lost, perhaps we could rose our standing and avoided some close losses. Gordon show Drew and Pau how to rebound with authority. Ebanks was also relentless in his defense against Superstar Durantula, Devin picked up where MWP left so there is help in the line up. It’s one man down but two men up. I hope G-luck will get back his luck and contribute to long range threes, Lakers need them in the playoffs. Drew should find his niche and get back to his true self as a monster in the post as well as in the free throw line. We missed his contributions yesterday, that inconsistency should stop and grow up as a budding a Superstar in line with the Laker tradition of great centers.

    “It’s playoff time Andrew, you’re no longer the baby Drew to be babysat but an All Star player that Lakers needs at games like this. Without your contributions, Lakers will have a hard time to advance in the playoffs.”

  126. OKC is the new chosen ones for the NBA and Stern. They want them protected. Stern has been anti Lakers since the Gasol deal.

    Ron will be suspended no less then 5 games.

    Andrew should be suspended for stealing Laker money with half an effort during games.

  127. I’m of the opinion that they’ll overreact a bit with six games, but as everyone’s noting above, something in the range of 2-4 is more about the average for this sort of offense. Given the history of the player, that it was a national game on Sunday, that two marquee playoff teams (and likely second-round opponents) were playing, and the sheer number of replay angles, it all adds up to an extra penalty.

    Now. What he did was pretty brutal and it’s hard to excuse. I watched the replay about, oh, 25 times, and it wasn’t until the 4th or 5th that it became apparent that the elbow was absolutely intentional, but I think he was aiming for a body blow/shoulder strike (and was very intentionally looking away so awful aim could very much be argued). That likely would have left a nice bruise, but even if the refs had seen it, wouldn’t have even merited a foul call. Heads, obviously, are a little different.

    The game has gotten a little chumpy lately, between Boston’s general defensive approach, Griffin’s offensive fouls and staredowns, a whole host of guys showboating a little too much–that Westbrook/Durant two-on-none fast break was a nice sample of the showing-up professionals shouldn’t get involved in, particularly on the road–and the subtle jabs like Harden’s yesterday after the dunk, it’s a little irritating. Yes, you have to prove you’re the alpha, but there are less weaksauce ways to do it.

    The upside, such as it is, of Artest’s elbow and Lopez’s nasty foul on Griffin, is that we’re rounding into playoff mode and these kids are starting to realize that that sort of shit won’t fly. I mean, hell, I’m still scared of Charles Oakley.

  128. It was a cheap shot by Ron no wrong in saying that. What Bynum did last year was a punk move but this was a cheap shot. Bynum got suspended 8 games before he won his appeal I see no less than 8 and would be fine with indefinite suspension.

  129. First – Let’s not go near the race question. They can justify the Jason Smith and Kevin love suspensions as less because they are first time offenders. This country accepts that policy, and its a policy consistently upheld in most sports leagues so that Artest cannot be surprised if his punishment is more.

    Second – and I am sad to say this – but this debate is fun to watch (not the act itself mind you) precisely because I am in law school and about to take a criminal law final in 2 weeks.

    Unfortunately – MWP came into contact w/ Harden’s face. Maybe it was unlucky, I don’t know – but if this was a true courtroom – the unlucky ones get punished. (Don’t forget that Stern is a topnotch lawyer himself).

    Attempted battery is a lesser crime than battery precisely because the harm wasn’t done. Artest can’t say – but there was a good chance I would’ve missed. He didn’t.

    Furthermore, we take our victims as we find them. Artest can’t really say “Well if it had been Perkins I would’ve hit him in the chest.” That’s not a justifiable excuse in any system. Out of sheer dumb luck Artest ran into a guy that was 6’7, as opposed to 6’0 (he would’ve missed), or 7’0 (hit him in the shoulders).

    2nd – I see some people on here arguing heat of passion – which is a fun excuse – but only serves to mitigate the punishment in this country for murder. Similarly, Harden wasn’t threatening artist by walking by him, and Harden in his own respect has the full right to occupy his own space.

    Unfortunately – allowing provocation implies you really want to meet “eye for an eye.” Certainly Laker fans don’t want that – because the next play would entail a player like Kobe being manhandled by a guy like Ibaka and the official pointing to Ron Artest as their justification. That would be unacceptable.

    Furthermore, provocation defenses sometimes mitigate the punishment – but only when you can truly think Artest wasn’t blameworthy. Here, is he not blameworthy? Is the right reaction after a dunk to pound your chest and swing your elbows around? I doubt that, regardless of whether Artest is “crazy” or fired up or not. There are tons of dunks in the NBA that don’t cause anywhere near the same commotion – seems like an unreasonable event to me.

    Third – I’d be willing to say the elbow was more “reckless” than “intentional,” because of the high probability of danger to others. Intentional requires that Artest is aware, believes, or hopes his conduct the result in harm. That’s a high standard to make in such a quick series of events. Recklessness requires awareness of a substantial and unjustifiable risk – which throwing elbows near people certainly is. Unfortunately – reckless battery is still a battery.

    4th – It is not debatable, either, that Artest’s actions were “voluntary.” He wasn’t compelled by others to hit Harden, wasn’t provoked, and it wasn’t a natural uncontrollable reaction (like a seizure). That he wouldn’t want to hit Harden in the face has nothing to do with voluntariness – Artest has the responsibility to monitor his actions and prevent harming others. Just like we all do.

    Thus, in essence – Artest has no truly justifiable defense. The only argument is to try to compare him to similar “crimes” – or more egregious ones – and find a proportional punishment. Like I have said above- there have been far more egregious acts that don’t get the press because they aren’t done by guys like Ron Artest against beloved ones like James Harden.

    But – given this is Ron Artest – expect bad, not good.

  130. James, I agree that when meting out punishment all that stuff is secondary (I wouldn’t call it irrelevant).

    The point I was making is that it is enormously hypocritical for Laker fans to tolerate or minimize what MWP did when the exact same context would produce an opposite reaction from them if our guy was the one left crumpled on the floor.

  131. Some people on this site don’t understand that this is a LAKER blog site, Maybe you guys should go on okc.com or whatever their site is called to bash MWP. I look at the Lakers as part of my family so im always going to have my teams back weather they are in the wrong or not. Not saying the play isnt dirty, But I dont think MWP is 100% in the wrong. Just saying..

    GO LAKERS!

  132. 1. Phil is right; Kobe is on a different level now. No need to compare him to anyone anymore.

    2. I love me some Lisa Salters, but that was D-Y-A-N C-A-N-N-O-N, not Diahann Carroll. There is a difference…

    3. If Artest doesn’t stop to clown, we would not be having this conversation.

    4. Blake, HIll and Ebanks played without worryl they played like they belonged on the court.

  133. Stern is going to throw the book at MWP. Do not be surprised if he is suspended for the playoffs. Im a diehard but come on, Ron-ron wound up threw a viscious elbow, didnt have the omg i accidentally hit someone reaction, then went at Durant, he’s gone for the rest of the season. Bynum and Odom’s cheapshots now this sorry guys its going to be the book the whole book and nothing but the book. Stern hates the Lakers. Now he gets to flex.

  134. LBC,
    Anyone who says Artest is 100 percent wrong is exaggerating. I don’t think anyone thinks that. Harden (per usual) stepped in front of MWP as he was pounding his chest and celebrating after an impressive one on three slam dunk against two of the better players in basketball. Harden was trying to pick up an offensive foul on Artest. Mission accomplished. Harden deserved a technical for that… Def not a powerful elbow to the side of the head.

  135. I hope Harden is OK for the playoffs. We want to see everyone competing at their top level, in full health, and especially if he’s injured and the Lakers face the Thunder, it just compromises the game overall.

    I don’t think MWP specifically targeted Harden, since it’s not clear from the clip whether he ever looked at him. But he did intentionally throw a clear-out elbow, consequences be damned. In the past, this has been a 1-2 game kind of deal, but of course one could argue that with what we know now about concussions, maybe those suspensions weren’t enough.

    But what’s worse is he then didn’t stop or try to help and he jawed with the OKC players who came to challenge him, and that isn’t going to look good to the league. And it doesn’t look good. Add that to MWP’s rep, and it’s hard to imagine only 1-2 games, even if precedent suggests that is the punishment.

  136. The “occupy space” argument makes no sense in this situation. I’ve heard/read about it a few times now.

    There is absolutely no basketball reason for Harden to be where he was. Harden is intentionally creating contact. That’s his right, and there are consequences, essentially when you come at a blind side.

    They play was over. So why was he there?

    Doesn’t give MWP any right to throw elbows (but I can recall Malone, Kareem and many others sticking elbows out and swinging after a rebound while the play is still active).

    Still waiting for Magic to retract his “embarassed Laker” comment. No question it was horrible, wrong, stupid, etc.

    I’m still embarassed that Magic thought he could be a talk show host….

  137. LBC, fortunately you are not the moderator here. Views like yours are better left to the Laker Girl squad. A fan can be critical.

    Trianglefan, why should Magic retract his comment about being embarrassed by what you yourself just called “horrible, wrong, stupid, etc”? Embarrassment seems like a perfectly natural reaction to watching Bynum take out Barrea and then stalk off the court shirtless, and now this blatantly cheap shot by MWP. Magic’s point seemed to be that the Lakers used to be known for winning titles, and now they are getting headlines for boneheaded cheap shots. Seems like a valid point to me.

  138. Bynum and MWP are completely different situations. Don’t know how you can compare them. Magic just seems to make a lot more comments without really thinking it through.

  139. Ive been a laker fan since 1973, Im from NY born in Queens, MWP is my home boy. He needs to be suspended for the season. If Kendrik Perkins had cheap shotted Kobe and reacted like MWP did, every one here would be calling for blood. I LOVE the Lake show. But im a purist there is no place for that kind of nonsense and if Stern thrtows him for the season RonRon has no one to blame except himself. You do not jeopardize your team with that hella selfish act and you certainly do not injure another player. Come on some reason and common sense.

  140. the funny thing about Magic’s comments were just that he’s thrown an elbow in his playing career. in fact, many, many players have. it’s too bad, but Harden is hurt and MWP needs to be suspended a few games.

    it’s just like your mother(or the shop teacher) always said, “stop screwing around because someone will get hurt”. then, someone always does…