The Breakdown: Defending The Pick & Roll

Darius Soriano —  April 23, 2012

Yesterday’s win was thrilling for it’s comeback. It was also the news of the day because of Ron’s elbow. But what may be somewhat lost in the shuffle is that several prominent Lakers sat down the stretch while the win was fought for and secured.

Most notable of those players was Andrew Bynum, who sat the entire 4th quarter and all of both overtimes in favor of Jordan Hill. After the game, Mike Brown mentioned that he followed his gut in playing Hill; that he used evidence from the first half (when Hill played very well) to influence his decision.

One key that Brown brought up was Jordan Hill’s P&R defense in comparison to Bynum’s (and Gasol’s) and how the former’s was in line with what the coaches want from their big men. Dave McMenamin has the report:

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.”

More from McMenamin:

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.”

What Brown talks about is very much in line with what I’ve seen from the Lakers’ P&R coverage as well. This is from a couple of weeks ago, when we talked about the downward trend of the Lakers’ defense:

Different Lakers big men are playing the P&R differently. Gasol, McRoberts, and Murphy all hedge hard and try to recover. Bynum, though, does a mix of these things and isn’t always hedging hard – if he hedges at all. Often times Bynum will hang back below the screen and invite the dribble penetration towards him where he can keep the ball handler in front of him and be a deterrent to the guard turning the corner. Bynum does a pretty good job of contesting shots that are taken going the basket but because he’s naturally on his heels when the guard is turning the corner off the pick, he’s been having some trouble contesting the mid-range jumper.

Again, that was two weeks ago. Do you know what’s changed in those two weeks?

Nothing. Nothing at all. And we have some pictures to show what Brown is talking about:

The first frame is of Kevin Durant operating on the right side of the floor. Kendrick Perkins (who is being defended by Bynum) comes high to set a pick for Durant to go middle. Look where Andrew Bynum is:

Bynum is sitting a full 5 feet below the pick and in no mans land. He has no angle to deal with Durant turning the corner in either direction and isn’t even in a defensive stance. This allowed Durant to turn the corner quite easily and with his long stride get right to the front of the rim where Gasol challenged the shot. KD ended up missing the shot, but because Pau helped, and Bynum never recovered, Ibaka got the offensive rebound and scored on a put back.

This next frame shows a similar story. This time it’s James Harden handling in the P&R:

This time, Harden starts from the left side of the floor and Perkins sets a pick for him to go middle. Bynum is straddling the FT line while Hard gets a clean release coming off the pick with over 5 feet of daylight. Harden simply came off the pick, took a rhythm pull up three pointer, and knocked it down.

Now, compare what Bynum’s doing to what Jordan Hill did late in the game against the same action. Here are three stills from the same possession:

In this first pic, Hill is actively sliding up to the pick to cut off Westbrook’s angle. The result is that Russell strings out his dribble to the left wing, back dribbles and calls for another screen:

Again, look where Hill is. After Perkins clipped Kobe for a second time, Hill has Westbrook directly in front of him with minimal space to make a strong move to the rim. He holds his ground and allows Kobe to recover. At that point, Westbrook calls for yet another screen:

Hill again is in perfect position to slow down Westbrook. He’s even with the pick, in a defensive stance and ready to slide with the ball handler. When Russell sees that Hill is with him stride for stride, he pulls up for an 18 foot jumper that misses.

I don’t want to completely discount Bynum here as he did play the action better on specific possessions. Late in the first half, he played it exactly the way that Hill did in the frames above:

As this frame shows, Bynum stepped up higher to contest Westbrook’s angle. And while Russ still tried to turn the corner (and did successfully get by Bynum) he was forced wider and then tried to finish over Jordan Hill who blocked the shot out of bounds.

The problem is, Bynum takes this latter approach less frequently than his other front court partners and it can lead to botched coverages. This inconsistency is troubling and if the Lakers are going to tighten up their D, this is one of the first places they need to start. Bynum can be such a terror on the defensive end but that will require that he make better choices. I’ll leave the final words on the matter to Mike Brown (again, via Dave McMenamin):

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.

Darius Soriano

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186 responses to The Breakdown: Defending The Pick & Roll

  1. Big guys like Bynum have a history of playing much better PnR defense in the playoffs. Just like I said I wasn’t worried about Kobe’s shot selection in the playoffs… When the playoffs start and the game slows down and everyone is rested… I have no doubt we will see more energy and MUCH MORE effectiveness from Bynum on PnR’s.

  2. Hopefully Hill’s energy on D isn’t just a one-time occurrence. It would be nice to know that the Lakers have someone who can step in and play the PnR well at the end of the 1st and 3rd quarters when Bynum sits. This would do wonders for the Lakers’ ability to close out quarters strong.

  3. I read both the landoflakes blog and Mike Medina’s this morning that talked about Bynum agreeing that he didn’t have the energy and that he didn’t put out that much effort.

    Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I don’t like that all he talked about was being aggressive in the offensive side of the ball and nothing about the defense. Lets face it, Hill’s defense is what we liked, that and his energy. Maybe I just wish Bynum would say he’d do better defensively since that is what turned the game yesterday.

  4. Jim,
    As I have been saying (and a few others) since the trade deadline, Jordan Hill is a good young NBA PF who was obviously eventually going to be the back up big this year. He was a top ten pick a couple years ago and has played will the first three years in the NBA. The reason Houston had to trade him is because they wanted a first round draft pick and Hill was going to leave as FA this summer anyways (just like Session’s). Houston wasn’t going to over commit financially to Hill because Jordan is not a low post scorer. The Rockets have been looking for a guy to score in the post. They wanted Hill to be that. He isn’t that. He is a poor mans Horace Grant. A solid athlete who has some skill and can shoot the midrange jumper. The Rockets have guys like that who are on cheaper longer rookie contracts. Jordan Hill is the guy you saw yesterday. That’s who he has always been. He will be even better paying off real low post big men like Drew and Gasol. Jordan Hill in the passed was asked to be Bynum and Gasol. He isn’t that kind of player. What he is… Is a guy who is perfectly made to play off of guys like Bynum and Gasol. We traded for him on purposes. Hill wasn’t a throw in. We knew we needed a back up big man to play with Bynum and Gasol. Now he is healthy (sort of) and familiar with the offense. Brown was also sort of hiding him and saving him as a bullet to fire heading into the playoffs. Same with Browns choice to remove Blake from the back up PG spot and place Kobe into that role starting last night. Ramon or Kobe will always be on the floor playing PG letting Blake play his natural spot up shooter role he has played his entire career. Mike Brown played this thing perfectly.

  5. The game changed in the 2nd and 4th qtrs when Hill came into the game. It may not happen every time but his energy was evident and hustle was much needed. It’s not too often you see guys outworking Ibaka but he did that.

    raydiaz1238: it’s not the first time he’s admitted his energy was low. i can remember at least 3 times he’s said this but it hasn’t changed yet maybe it will seeing someone who can take his minutes.

  6. Both Pau and Bynum are big men, but neither are quick big men. Pau is fast, but doesn’t have the quick-tic reflexes side-to-side. Bynum is simply slow side-to-side and relies on his length and shot-blocking ability to alter shots.

    Hill is a big man who is quick side-to-side and knows his success in the NBA will be measured by his defense. McBob is fast, but also not defensively adept side-to-side. Murphy is simply slow, in every direction.

    Since Hill is the only big man defender who has side-to-side quicks, we need to play him more.

  7. Aaron always has an excuse for Bynum, he has never played great in the playoffs, he was only average in 2010. so dont go putting ur boy toy on a pedestal just yet.

  8. Ditto what Craig said. As great as our “twin towers” are they have their limitations. Notice that in the examples above even when Bynum stepped up higher on the the pick Westbrook still got around him. I wonder how those Spurs loses would have looked had Hill got some time. Maybe they don’t pick us apart they way they did.

  9. Kevin,
    Haha. You make me laugh. Bynum wasn’t healthy ever in the playoffs. Last year he missed half the season and was 60 percent of the player he is today. In last years post season he was the Lakers most efficient and consistent performer. Those are the facts. I know you you like to deal more in opinions than facts… But I prefer facts. If you would like to pretend Bynum isn’t the best big man in the NBA right now go ahead. You will literally be the only person to carry that opinion since Howard is done for the year. You and you alone. Have fun being on that island. Is Bynum perfect? No… Does he play hard all the time? No. Did Shaq and Kareem play hard all the time? No. Facts are facts. Bynum is the best big man in the league and it’s not close right now. If you want to nit pick I’m fine with that. We should nitpick. He has been the best Center in the NBA this year and the most healthy Center. We should expect a lot. He is that talented. But to lie about his effectiveness is to elbow Naismith in the back of the ear.

  10. Kevin,

    yah I know.

    Aaron, you’re just assuming that this is what Coach brown wanted to do right? You are so adamant that Brown was “hiding him and saving him” as a bullet for the playoffs. In all my years of watching basketball, I’ve never seen a team do that, or at least a successful team. Nor do I remember Brown “hiding and saving” players for the playoffs. To essentially say that this was all part of a masterplan is not founded on any evidence except for the coincidental timing of Hill playing 2 games before the playoffs.

    Also, you keep saying that Kobe was put in the point guard position in the end of the fourth quarter and the OTs and I just think that’s wrong. Blake handled the ball up and there was a lot of off the ball screens to get kobe the ball at the top of the key. An ISO for Kobe is different than saying he’s a point guard in the end of the game. He was the playmaker, but he wasn’t the point guard.

  11. kevin: I don’t want people thinking your me so I’ll add something to my name.

  12. From your mouth to God’s ears Aaron. I just hope we can find the rhythm we so desperately need to make a run in the playoffs. The compressed 66 game season has not allowed us to find a consistent rotation. Hopefully an easier 1st round will let us get something going and maybe we can get lucky against the Thunder in round 2. From there, it’s gotta be grind-it-out basketball no matter who we face. We win close games for a reason: we are mentally tough and have a terrific closer. Adding someone to the rotation that can play solid D might be the difference between a trip to the Finals and burning out in round 2.

  13. “(Bynum) has never played great in the playoffs”?

    Huh?

    He averaged 15.2 points 10.3 boards against the Hornets, and then put up 13.5 and 8.5 against Dallas. Even Monty Williams said, “Kobe’s Kobe, but I thought Bynum decided the series. He was that good.”

    Bynum deserves lots of criticism for various things of late, but let’s be fair in dishing out that criticism.

  14. Jim,
    As I’ve said before. It’s even bigger than you are making it out to be. You’re replacing D League level players (Murphy/McBob) with Jordan Hill who is a quality NBA PF. Do you realize how that impacts games? It’s gigantic. This is basketball where one player is is 20 percent of your product. Twenty percent! When that player is McBob or Murphy that makes it almost impossible to be competitive. In the playoffs where two minutes can swing games having Blake (at PG offensivley) and McBob/Muprhy on the floor is a giant handicap. These late season moves by Brown a game before the playoffs begin is a stroke of genius I predicted would be made around now back at the trade deadline. This is done often by coaches heading into the playoffs. So it wasn’t some crazy prediction I made. If we looked at history it was easy to see this is what Mike Brown might have been thinking. Phil Jackson didn’t set his rotations and strategies until right before the playoffs and most times not until he thought the series was in any sort of jeopardy. He wouldn’t move Kobe onto PGs until later in a playoff series. Good coaches always save some bullets. Phil saved his bullets for later in important playoff series. (in 1991 moving Pippen onto Magic after the Lakers won the first game). I hope these aren’t even Browns last bullets to be fired :)

  15. Raydiaz1238,
    The PG isn’t the guy who brings the ball up the court. That’s just the guy who brings the ball up the court. The PG is the guy who initiates the offense. That guy was Kobe the entire 4th quarter and OT. Weather in ISOS or in PnR.

    Oh… Ad for some evidence (just from our last coach) of coaches changing rotations right before the playoffs… Tyron Lue for the 2001 Finals, Luke Walton for 2004 Finals, Jordan Farmar for 2007 playoffs, and Ariza for 2009 playoffs.

  16. Aaron, Aaron

    You are just going to have to get over the fact that this blog isn’t just about your opinion…or that everything said by anyone is’nt a shot at you, personally.

    We all like to hear different points-of-view. We don’t like to hear the same rant over and over – even if it just might be right. Simply say your piece once and let others respond. You don’t have to constantly be restating your opinion as a counterweight to someone else.

  17. ESPN 5-on-5: They asked the question as to how long MWP’s punishment “should” be: 3 guys stated 5 games (but this included both K-bros), 1 said 15 games and 1 said two rounds of playoffs (basically 15 games). Based on what I am reading – we need to hope that Stern does not go harsh.

    If Stern deals MWP a 10+ suspension, this is a huge blow to our chances. It does not totally eliminate us, but we were hardly favorites before this.

  18. Sure Aaron – Bynum can be the best big man in the game . . . . when he tries.

    Problem here – he doesn’t try. Nor does he care to try. Nor does he have the stamina to play both ends of the court. If we could play Bynum 2 minute sprint stretches (like hockey) where he would get 2 minutes on, 3 minutes off, I’d bet he be more valuable because he’d have the wind to actually get up and down the court on each possession.

    He’s gotten greedy to get offensive touches (which I might add he was shooting in the low 40%’s when Kobe was gone), doesn’t get back on D, and plays the pick and roll so inconsistently that his teammates can’t rely on him. And then – as in the Spurs game – he has the gall to yell at his teammates for “their” defense – as if he wasn’t the primary issue.

    Not a whole lot of value in having “the best big in the league” if that big refuses to try or play within the system and act as a teammate.

    Especially against elite teams that play team ball – i.e. the Spurs/Bulls/Thunder – where everyone knows their role and nobody pouts about it (aside from WB occasionally).

    And seriously – if the Lakers want to run P&R – Bynum (if he was that elite) – should be the guy setting screens. He’s the biggest body and can certainly impede progress of the defender. Plus, it would stretch the defenses out and leave lanes open for Ramon/Kobe/Gasol/MWP (if he ever plays again). But they can’t use him like that (even though they used Shaq in TONS of P&R when he was young), because Bynum doesn’t have that skill.

  19. No offense to other commenters on this site but aaron is the guy who is most consistently right on here. He always thinks big picture and is respectful mostly to other peoples opinions unless they appear to be trolls. The one criticism I have with aaron is he doesn’t seem to be tolerant of peoples basketball ignorance. Just because people don’t know as much as he does doesn’t mean they should be made to feel badly about it. But, he also only attacks those on this site who have overtly wrong and ludicrous opinions. So I have to say its nice for someone to be protecting the basketball integrity of the site like aaron does. Darius and other mods have to be more respectful so it is nice to have some Ron Artest to Darius’ Pau Gasol. Just my two cents. Although I might be biased as I’ve only disagreed with aaron about Fisher and he turned out to be more right than i was for what it is worth.

  20. Good to hear Coach Mike Brown’s thought patterns in regards to Pick n Roll Defense with this roster. Obviously he has the understanding of how it should be defended and it’s quite clear that he and his staff are instilling these principles upon the players. As a matter of fact, it appears as though the coaching staff’s philosophy is the same as most of the commentors here within the FB&G Community.

    So the question then becomes, who’s @ fault when the team isn’t executing the Pick n Roll Defensive Game-plan correctly? Should the blame be delved upon the Coaching Staff or the Individual Players?

  21. drew put up a lazy 10 and 8 and -18, got benched through all of the 4th and both overtimes because of his lack of effort (which was instrumental in digging that hole for us in the 3rd, all while he was seen laughing with westbrook during a freethrow), in the most important pre-playoff game of the season with the 3 seed on the line.

    even if we’re to all recognize him as the best center in the league, what good will that accolade do for him and for our team? I liked him better before he became an allstar when he had something to prove.

  22. Ok, to the point of initiating the offense:

    Blake was the one who initiated the offense since he was the one that was looking for the Kobe iso. Again, doesn’t make him the point guard. Because then you can say oh, initiating the offense is when this happened, which makes me right. Blake initiated the offense in those sets, it just turns out to be that without Kuester, the offense was Iso top key for Kobe with heavy pick and rolls. Also, some of the plays were going from Blake to Pau then to Kobe. Are you saying that when kobe got the ball he was actually the point guard? You can say that the offense went through Kobe Bryant in the clutch. But to say he was the Point Guard isn’t technically accurate. You want to say that the offense went thru Kobe and he had the ball in his hands for it (which he did) fine, but he wasn’t looking to initiate offense. He was the offense.

    Regarding your examples to
    Further, those guys PLAYED during the regular season and not just in the playoffs. Tyronne Lue played in 38 games for the Lakers that year. IN the playoffs he played 15. And in that game against Philly, Tyronne Lue was asked to guard Iverson, did ok because of his speed. To imply that Phil Jackson hid him and saved him for the playoffs is just flat out wrong. Same for Ariza who played. Ariza in the 2008 – 2009 season played in all 82 games, started 20. Farmar played in 72 games for the 06-07 Lakers. He only played in 5 games of the 06-07 playoffs because we lost to the Suns 4 games to 1. in the 07-08 season, he played all 82 games averaging 20 minutes per game and 17.1 minutes in the playoffs, where he played in the 21 games. In 2003 – 2004 Luke Walton played in 72 games, averaging 10.1 minutes per game and then played in 17 games for the Playoffs averaging 7.9 minutes per game. Again, none of the examples you give are akin to a coach HIDING AND SAVING A BULLET for the playoffs.

    And you avoided the other question: you don’t actually know that Coach Brown was “hiding and saving” Hill. Because I really don’t think coaches do that.

  23. BillBill,
    That’s my three year old son. So be careful what you say

    Z,
    You’re a smart man. If you were smarter you would have added that I was a super basketball genius who should be the GM of the Los Angeles Lakers. Only then will I fully respect your take. Until then you’re almost as bad as those who think Kobe hurts the team, Bynum needs to be shipped out, and Artest should be kicked out of the league ;)

  24. Raydiaz1238,
    All those players were moved up one spot. For Ariza and Farmar it was from bench player to starter. For Walton, Lou, and now Jordan Hill it was from out of rotation to back up rotational player off the bench. Sorry. But you are wrong. As for Blake at PG. Anyone who watched the game saw Kobe play the PG role he played the first half of the year when all we had were Fisher and Blake. That was too much for him in a condensed season. But in the playoffs for only the minutes Ramon is on the bench Kobe is fine playing back up PG. more than fine ;)

  25. With Dwight out, Bynum may be the best center in the league, but only on an INDIVIDUAL basis. He gets his stats, and his one on one offense is spectacular….. but he is also a liability to the TEAM in several areas.

    Number one, his lack of maturity, and appauling selfishness top my list. He does not cheer for his teammates, does not join huddles, and did not celebrate yesterday’s victory. He is simply on a different wave length than his teammates and has different priorities. I expect his energy and hustle to increase come playoff time, but his selfishness and immaturity is a another story.

    Transition defense….. giving up offensive rebounds…… P&R defense are the main Laker weaknesses, and Bynum is at the forefront of all three categories. As soon as Jordan Hill entered the game, ALL of these categories improved immediately.

    On offense, when Bynum is single covered, it is a wise strategy to go to Bynm as often as possible, but unfortunately, teams know now that when Bynum is doubled, the Laker offense stalls because Bynum is not remotely close to being a playmaker. The offense needs to go through the teams bezt playmakers, Kobe and Gasol, and to a lesser extent, Sessions, to maximize the weapons on this team. The offense will run smoother, there will be better ball movement, and Bynm’s FG% should move back up.

  26. Z @ 20 … too funny.

    Aaron posting as “Z” perhaps?

    Or (more likely) Aaron’s mom posting as “Z”.

  27. LT Mitchell,
    Another falsehood. Bynum has been the Lakers Lakers best playmaker by definition since he has been doubled and triple teamed through out the season twice as much as any other Laker and besides from the first two weeks of the season has done a good job hitting open teammates. So your analysis about Bynum not being one of the Lakers top two playmakers is very much not true.

  28. R,
    It was actually my therapist. Good guy.

  29. You know who was the happiest about the MWP thuggery? Not Dallas, not Denver (possible Lakers first round opponents), not even Laker haters at large.
    It is Mr. Abbott. The MWP elbow has overshadowed Kobe’s clutch performance. Now, Mr. Abbott can write an article speculating on MWP’s suspension instead of having to come up with excuses to dismiss Kobe’s performance as an anomaly.

  30. Sessions shooting 69% ft’s in april.

    Bynum shooting 47% fg in april 8.8 rebounds w/o the 30 rebound game. Barnes avg. 8 reb this month. A solid backup SF averaging 1 less rebound a game than the best center in the league.

    Pau avg. 5.1 assists this month. Bynum 1.1 ast

    Blame is put on Brown a lot he made the right moves yesterday. Picking defense over offense. Hill held his own against one of the best frontlines in the nba. If seeing a guy who can take his minutes doesn’t make Drew play harder I don’t know what will.

  31. Here is a good article highlighting the just how tough the consended schedule has been on NBA teams.

    http://www.foxsportsarizona.com/04/22/12/Analyzing-the-effects-of-a-post-lockout-/landing_suns.html?blockID=714668&feedID=3702

    When we complain about the Lakers looking tired or disinterested we can remember that all teams are dealing with a similar level of malaise.

  32. With Andrew I wonder how much is lack of effort and how much is lack of energy. Andrew is a huge man who has played this many minutes in his career. Factor in a condensed season and he may just be hitting the wall. No athlete is ever going to admit being tired but the fact is these effort questions for the most part have stated later in the season. If Hill can continue to play this well perhaps Bynums minutes can be reduced some in the playoffs. Another positive is there are no back to backs in the playoffs, so that will be help everyone.

  33. Kevin,
    Hahahahahahahahahahaha. Okay. “take away the 30 rebound game”. That’s like taking away the 2 rebound game. That’s your funniest line of all time on this site. “take away the 30 rebound game”. Haha. I like it. Let’s take away Kobe’s 81 point game away from his seasonal average because it was an outlier. If you do that you need to take away Kobe’s 3 for 25 game. So if you want to take away Andrews 30 board game you also need to Aleta’s away the 2 board game.

  34. Aaron: 30 rebound games are historic they rarely happen like drew running back on defense. He’s at 10.6 with that game and 47% fg. Franchise player he is not very good he is.

    Let’s talk about Pau a guy who can actually pass the ball out of double teams averaging 5 assists in a month as a 3rd option. Last to do it Garnett and Duncan in 07.

  35. In the 30 rebound game alot of thoes rebounds were not hustle rebounds they were easy to get and if you watch the game guys on the lakers were letting drew get their rebounds even if they had the better position for the board, They knew what drew was trying to do. I would of liked to see him get that 30 rebound game against a bulls team,orlando with dwight, memphis,okc. Spurs just missed alot of easy shots that game and dont have a legit center.

    Anyone know how many of the 30 were offensive boards?

  36. Aaron @ 29 – (chuckle).

    Can you arrange for Artest to see him?

  37. I know some think Bynum is the best center this side of Hakeem. Others think he is spoiled 4th grader. Let’s leave the extremism on the table. It’s making people crazy. The evidence is in some of these commetns. No one gets 30 rebounds in an NBA game because they all just fell into his lap. To go along with that, it is possible to be the best center in the game and still be inconsistent. It’s not like we are in a golden era of centers.

    Lets avoid giving FB&G the feel of a political blog with these black and white views of players and the game of basketball. There are many shades of gray at work.

  38. I don’t think that Andrew has a real love of the game.
    He plays it because he’s big and somewhat athletic for his size.
    He works at it because he’s big and it pays to work hard.
    But he doesn’t have a desire to dominate on a nightly basis.
    I’ll bet he’s never fallen asleep with a basketball in his hands because he didn’t want to put it down.

  39. r,
    I don’t know. Nobody could have taken that (TRex) stare out of Ron’s eyes as he was raising his arm to swing directly at Hardens dome. That was pretty scary. He literally wasn’t thinking at that moment.

  40. My guess is that the NBA suspends MWP for the SAC game plus the first two rounds of the playoffs. I hope I’m wrong, but my thinking is that the league doesn’t want the possibility of MWP facing OKC to occur.

    Also, Jordan Hill’s P&R defense was a thing of beauty. I’m hoping that MB doesn’t relegate him to the bench again in favor of Murphy and McRoberts. I think there’s at least a 50-50 chance that those were the only meaningful minutes Jordan Hill plays in the next several games. Yes, I have that little confidence in Brown’s decision making regarding our personnel.

  41. T Rogers,
    I don’t think I have heard anyone say he is the best center since Hakeem. At best people say he is the best center in the nba and at worst (besides from one) we have heard he is the second best center in the NBA. Thats where Andrew is right now. Depending on oppinion.

  42. Is Artest is even fit to play basketball?

    It’s sad and scary to think about his mental state, but it seems clear the man has serious issues.

    Those issues are bigger than, “How many games will he be suspended?”

    More along the lines of “Is he a danger to those around him?”

  43. Dude@41: Good point with regard the league possibly not wanting MWP to face OKC. This is the exact type of logic the league uses in decisions like this (although theorhetically they should not).

    Let’s not underestimate how large of a blow this is if the sentence comes in at 10 games+. MWP was key to our defense and actually had played some periods of Game 7 type offense recently. Removing that abruptly is not good.

    PS: Someone call Stern and remind him what the MWP presence would do for TV ratings in the OKC series.

  44. Andrew Bynum is someone who gives inconsistent effort based almost entirely on how he’s “feeling” at any given time.

    It’s basically his maturity issues showing up on the court. It isn’t quite as obvious or easy to see as his innumerable off-court shenanigans, but when he doesn’t bother rotating out to his man, when he spends several possessions jogging between the freethrow lines (and “jogging” might be too generous of a word) and when he sits ten feet back in the paint allowing Tony Parker to take wide open shot after wide open shot, it’s him not giving a damn.

    Yes, some of it might be fatigue. I get that he’s a big man who has never played this many minutes in his life, but franchise players push through that. Franchise players come to play on both ends every night.

    There’s a reason why there’s only a handful of franchise players in the league. It’s hard. It requires commitment and constant effort. It requires you to care about both ends of the court at the same time, even if you’re not getting your individual stats in a particular game.

    Basically, it involves giving a **** about something beyond yourself. It isn’t necessarily always the same thing. For some, like Magic, it was both winning and his teammates. For others it’s becoming a global icon. For another it might be chasing a legend. Whatever that thing is, the common element is that it results in lifting everyone else around you up and making them better.

    Frankly, the player who Andrew Bynum most reminds me of from an ATTITUDE standpoint is Carmelo Anthony. Great talent. Great natural gifts. Granted, they don’t have their talent and natural gifts in quite the same places. Both routinely do dumb things, slack off on one part of their game, and look for stats over winning.

    Andrew Bynum is the second best center in the league. That’s an indictment of the current crop of big men in the league and not an endorsement of Bynum. He’s a young man whose potential is off the charts but only sporadically gives a damn. He’s a overgrown kid with attitude problems that gets coddled routinely from an owner’s son to a coach to teammates to message board commenters.

    But he’s still a kid. When and IF that stops being true, he’ll be ready to be a franchise player.

    People can trot out the “Kobe caused problems” canard of course, but Kobe was the co-MVP of three NBA championship teams by the time he was Bynum’s current age. He EARNED the right to feel entitled. He did it with his constant work and effort, by delivering in the playoffs, and by caring every damned night.

    He may not always have cared in the most productive manner. Sometimes his desire to be “the man” may have resulted in less than optimal team play. But bottom line, he got it done. He also didn’t do incredibly punk things like that hit against Barrea or the previous ones like Beaseley.

    And, more to the point, he was criticized when he acted out and I think that criticism ultimately helped. Bynum has made exceptional strides, but he doesn’t deserve the amount of coddling and excuse making he gets.

    At this point in his career he’s a one-time All-Star who has been carried to deep playoff runs by Kobe, Pau and Lamar. Let him EARN the right to be a prick.

  45. Bynum could be the best Center remaining in absence of Howard if he ‘d be vigilant and persistent in his defense. Unfortunately, the effort is not consistent, he drags his foot as if he’s dancing slow drag. Bynum gets into Jekyll and Hyde persona both on offense and defense, When he is great, he is the greatest post player and when he’s bad, he’s worst than the former Laker, Elden Cambell who are sleeping on the post. You never know what you will get out from Socks on a particular game. Definitely, Lakers are in a position to covet the title because of their Big 3, we’re lucky to win the game yesterday with only 2 needed plus the great efforts put up by Blake, Ebanks and Hill.

    On Sessions, try to be patient with him. He’s having a hard time on his lay ups because of that shoulder injury. Lakers are also fortunate to turn around their season with the infusion of Sessions, he brought back hope, energy and speed. The dying battery has been tuned up and with full speed once hr recovers from that injury.

  46. I think the League will look at RonRon’s elbow the same way as an intentional punch that connects with a player. The current rule on intentional elbows seems to be 1-2 games and punches have received 2- 3 games. Given how the elbow took a key player of the Thunder out of the game (and he may have suffered a concussion), I think RonRon may be looking at an “aggravated” suspension of about 4 games max.

    Bynum’s 5 game suspension is not a good measuring stick here. Remember that the league suspended him for 3 games two months before he laid out Barrea. Ron Ron has been a model citizen for 5+ years to the league will be hard pressed to use the “malace in the palace” as a valid precedent for a suspension.

  47. Aaron,
    i love your holier than thou attitude. one, i did watch the game. Kobe didnt “initiate” the offense. we ran the offense thru him. Much like how we sometimes run the offense to Pau in the high post to have other players cut an move so he can make the right play. are u saying inthose instances that Pau is playing point guard? Kobe was the offense last night.

    on the other players, my argument was regarding your: “saving and hidden bullet” argument that implies a coach, for tactical reasons, will hide a player to be a secret weapon of sorts in playoff games. The T. Luo insertion was not a hidden bullet, but just a necessity because no one could keep up with Iverson except for Lou. Ariza moved to a starter because he was playing really well. i cant check on my phone but i dont remember Farmar starting. P. Jackson played those players due to matchups. some cases it worked out really well.

    Jordan Hill is a good PF and has earned playing time because he hedges better than Bynum and at times better than Pau. but to say that you were right that Brown was “saving him and using him as a hidden bullet” is wrong.

  48. I think the league has someone mining all the basketball websites in order to gather statistics on the number of games MWP should miss. Unfortunately, every one went to the extreme and announced he should miss upward from 10.

    The NBA does not want the Lakers in the playoffs, they are in the process of phasing out the old superstars in favor of LeBron, Durant and Rose. Ultimately, Stern would like to see a Miami and OKC game or an CHI and OKC game.

    Regarding whether or not Kobe will play in the Sacramento game. He’ll play and play extended minutes, not because he’s trying to win the scoring title (he is) rather he needs to get his timing back.

    I’m afraid Bynum’s still playing like he did for Phil. Meaning, he doesn’t believe he has to play hard until the playoffs. That’s a dangerous proposition, considering the theory lacked substance last year in the playoffs.

  49. MannyP: MWP was suspended in 2011 for one game for a blow to JJB. He was also suspended 7 games in 2007 for injuring his spouse. That is 8 games in the period you said was “model”. For his career he has been suspended 12 times for a total of 96 games. I believe he could have the all time lead in this category in both number of incidents and total games. Add to this that the judge/prosecutor/jury is the one and only David VETO Stern, and I think your 4 game wish is a tad optimistic.

    I will however hope you are correct and be rooting on your side of this.

  50. Raydiaz1238

    +1

  51. People need to stop taking shots at Aaron. You know why? Because if he takes shots at you, I’d say the same thing. You know, kind of like if Perkins elbowed Kobe in head I’d say that was a bad thing just like I argue it’s a bad thing when Ron does it to Harden. Double standards aren’t a good look.

  52. Also, the “saving Hill” argument makes less sense than the more logical answer: that it took him this long to earn a look during a meaningful portion of a game. I know that’s not as sexy as alternative arguments but it actually falls in line with what Mike Brown has said in the past – that new players would have to earn a spot in the rotation through practice time and, with showing they’re capable in game situations.

    For Sessions this took little time because he was one of only two PG’s on the roster (unless you want to count Goudelock or Morris) and, based off circumstance, he was going to play in games anyway. With Hill, however, it was less clear. Regardless of what you think of Murphy/McRoberts, they’re both veteran players that had earned a certain amount of trust with Coach Brown. With little practice time, there’s really no way for Hill to gain any sort of leverage over those guys. However, in his limited garbage time minutes, he did flash he could play. That combined with recent practices likely earned him his shot. The fact that he played well is good for him as he’s now earned more time (which will also hopefully be good for the Lakers).

    Again, I know this isn’t as sexy as “Jordan Hill, secret weapon” but I’m thinking it’s more likely.

  53. For all tbe disgust I felt for Ron going mad the crazy part about it is we never would have won that game other wise.

    The guy he hit was by far tbe best player on the court as the two stars were shooting bad.

    Also Thank goodness for the Saturday night life in LA. Works every time for out of town players.

  54. MWP may be physically absent but he’s the spirit of the Lakers who provided the spark that was seen all over the world. He ignited tremendous energy without any human resolve of its consequences in terms of hurting someone or getting a stiff penalty by his irresponsible action. On the contrary, Lakers need a big bang such as this as a counter to its finesse and soft mojo to a rising team or a conqueror as the new kid in the block.

    Therefore, MWP may not be around physically but to the remaining players, he is spirit of the Laker playoffs, Ask any Laker player whether they hate MWP as a player. Speaking of unsportsmanlike conduct, Peace and Harden are on the same level with different pedigree in execution. Harden does with his relentless trash-talking while Peace metes retaliation with vicious elbow. If Harden kept on smacking at players every time he makes those threes, then humility is not in his character because his greates joy is to embarrass his opponents when they’re in the lowest ebb by self adulation and constant mockery. Do NBA officials condone such behavior? Oh yeah, and they’re now surprised why a nutty player like MWP reacted in that manner too? Well, who was the provocateur in this situation? Will you be bitten by a snake if you leave him alone? Will the NBA react unfairly because of the history of nutty Artest who is now at Peace as a Laker? IMO, if they render a harsh justice, it will also be unfair to the efforts of the Lakers in conversion of Artest into a good citizen in WMP who is consciously concerned for state of crazy individuals. NBA should also investigate what provoked his viciousness that violated his passive concern for the sick. Is it seeking attention or frustrations from being continuously mocked? My point here, will harsh punishment cure craziness of the fellow or just turn it worst?

  55. @#32 T. Rogers….

    Excellent point about the shortened schedule and its effect on players.

    While I’m a little disturbed by Bynum’s play at times, I remind myself that he is playing the most minutes per game (over 35) of his career and has become a marked man because of his improvement. Teams are brutalizing him with hard fouls and double and triple teaming him on a regular basis. The shortened schedule has done the NBA players no favor as well.

    That being said, it is incumbent upon Andrew to work on his weaknesses. If stamina is a problem, he must get in better shape and perhaps lose some weight. And he needs to save some of his energy for defense. Drew is being paid the big bucks. He needs to be a pro and earn them.

  56. Re Hill Hidden Bullet Theory:

    It would be convenient to think Jordan Hill just randomly got a chance to play back up lakers big man the second to last game of the year on national TV. Convenient indeed. The Lakers trade Derek Fisher and a first round pick to this years draft for a guy who happens to get his first real game minutes against the leagues best team in the first half. I just don’t buy it. Does that really make sense? He gets a call two hours after getting off the plane from the head coach saying he “had a feeling Hill would get substantial minutes for the next game”. Does that really make sense. Now Lakers players are saying automatically right after the game that Jordan Hill “is the first big man off the bench from here in out”. Really? Really? Maybe they are all coincidences. I know that could be true. But my money is on the fact everyone knew Jordan Hill was the Lakers back up PF and were just waiting for him to play. That time is now. And randomly just right before the playoffs ;) Oh… And Darius… So as usual you won’t pick a dog in the fight ;) Fair enough… And well played.

  57. “The NBA does not want the Lakers in the playoffs?”

    A) Too late
    B) Stern’s antics on the Chris Paul deal aside, you know for damn sure the NBA and its business partners want the Lakers to go as far as possible in the playoffs. L.A. is a huge media market, and the Lakers draw an audience because people love them or hate them so much.

    To suggest anyone in the NBA offices would prefer to see Oklahoma City (No. 45th-largest U.S. television market) in the Finals over Los Angeles (No. 2 TV market) is absurd. The NBA is still a business, and long Laker runs are good for ratings.

    And L.A. and Miami in the Finals would be Stern’s dreamland.

  58. Unfortunately we won’t ever know the true extent of Hardin’s injury cause like Ron-Ron, he has a past…as a flopper who fakes and persists in a fake to sell the flop. Here, no flop, but how much of his hurt is real? We’ll never know. Google (Youtube) Hardin flop Chandler and Hardin flop Terry.

  59. @Edwin Gueco

    There’s a reason why we have the right to a Freedom of Speech and not a Freedom of Elbowing Someone In The Head.

    To say that someone talking a lot of trash is the equivalent of someone deliberately physically injuring another player, possibly very seriously, is kind of silly in my mind. They are not equally unsportsmanlike plays.

    Hell, the list of NBA greats that talk a lot of trash, including our own Kobe Bryant, is a mile long. Talking trash is often a combination of a player psyching themselves up and trying to take their opponent off of their game. It’s a legitimate tactic.

    Some of the play we’ve seen from the Lakers in recent years, however, is not. Things like several of Bynum’s fouls have made me embarrassed as a Laker fan for instance. Double standards are hypocritical. It doesn’t matter what Harden may have SAID to Peace to provoke him. You just can’t do what he did. Period.

    The NBA isn’t here to provide psychiatric help to its players. Hell, if the offseason lockout showed us anything it is that many of the NBA owners have thinly veiled contempt for the players.

    Peace is going to get hammered, and just like we rip on Bynum when he does really dumb things that hurts the team I’m very disappointed with Peace who has even less slack than Bynum should be given. (Very little.)

    What Peace did on that play was inexcusable in this Laker fan’s mind. As much as I want to be on Peace’s side here, I think he deserves a long suspension and, whether he’s getting help or not, unless he learns to get his temper under control needs to be tossed from the league for good.

  60. Ken-pseudonym-de-jour @ 54: your theory would seem at odds with the Lakers’ terrible record in nationally-broadcast sunday matinee games…

    No announcement from the league today? Don’t they invariably announce punishments by the end of the next business day? I fear Dude is right and we are looking at a two round suspension to avoid the circus of MWP returning against OKC in round 2, game 4 or something like that. Such a scenario would insure some good ratings, however…

  61. So ESPN has posted a video of a lengthy sanctimonious lecture from Bruce Bowen on how dirty play is bad. I’d say this particular witch hunt has officially reached the level of self-parody.

  62. This is what I found on social media regarding Ron’s dunk. This is by a person that played basketball in Division 1 under the age of 30 that follows the NBA.

    “I know a lot of people never dunked before, but sometimes you smash on somebody and you be so hype you move everybody touching you out your area. Teammate or opposition.”

    He is not condoning Artest’s elbow just offering an explanation from a player that’s played in front of 1,000′s of people in an important game.

    How many people do you think would tune in to see young basketball stars: Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Dwayne Wade, Russel Westbrooke, James Harden and Chris Bosh? Young 12-17 year old boys could care less if they’re in a small market or not these are the faces of the superstars in the NBA. They are electrifying, the game is fast-paced with plenty lobs and dunks. For future basketball fans this is what draws them to their television sets, the internet, youtube and social media.

    The player with the most dunks in the first couple of games in the finals will sell jerseys and sneakers galore.

    The Lakers were relevant and interesting with athleticism and timely 3pt shots. Now, not so much. Thus, the interest in the Clippers. We’ll all know how far the Lakers have fallen when the numbers for the first round in the playoffs come out. I’m going to presume that the Clippers ratings will be percentage points higher than the Lakers.

  63. This is why I came and keep on coming back to FB&G. The detailed break down and analysis of our players’ PnR defense really helps understand where (and how) players are effective. Jordan’s positioning just looked amazing. We may have solidified our bench. Looking at the frame by frame, Hill has an ability to be in the places the defense needs him to be. Here’s hoping he is the missing piece that allows us to give Gasol and Bynum breathers without compromising defense & rebounding, as well as another option to use if one of our big cylinders isn’t firing….this while also providing an energy and spark that won’t show up in the box score.

    I’m pretty proud of the Lakers’ comeback in yesterday’s game. Great great game.

  64. anon @ 65 – Are you suggesting no criticism of Artest unless (until?) he kills somebody?

  65. Brown should have known that Hill was better than Murphy and McRoberts before Hill got off the plane from Houston. Video tape, stats,etc. Several people, Aaron included, pointed that out.

    I seriously doubt the “secret weapon” thing is true, but the NBA isn’t high school. The only way practice time should have cost Hill PT is if Hill was actively dogging it in practice.

  66. Why is Artest getting more criticism then Love stepping on a guy’s FACE?

  67. #67. I don’t really disagree there. But we’re not really talking about talent. If the most talented players always played the most no one would ever complain about minute allocations, rotations, or any other in game player management situations (for the most part). And considering these issues have been the focal point surrounding most issues with Brown, I’m not sure why it would be a stretch that this would really be the case.

    And, again, there’s something to be said about having two players at the same position for months who a coach has a comfort zone with who he also thinks (at least, in my opinion he thinks) are capable enough to play already in place. If all three of Murphy, McRoberts, and Hill were in a race for minutes from the same starting point, I doubt we’d be in a position where Hill’s just getting meaningful minutes now. But that just wasn’t the case. Murphy and McRoberts had a 4 month head start.

  68. anon – why are you worrying about whatever Love did?

    Let’s worry about what Peace did!

    (I must be as crazy as Ron to post this ****!)

  69. Aaron,

    After your last post I went through all the major lakers blogs, LA TIMES and ESPN to find a quote from any player saying that Hill will be the first big man off the bench from here on out.

    There’s really not much coincidence in all those things. Hill was injured for a while when he came to the Lakers and the rotation had been established.

    I just don’t see any evidence showing Brown saved him as a silver bullet. And again have seen no proof that any NBA coach would do that because chemistry in game time situations is so important.

    You know what, there’s no point on this argument anymore. You’ll continue to think you’re right, more power to you on that.

    —-

    I hope that Hill continues to play as well as he did last night. The Lakers need his defensive energy. I’d worry about him being an offensive liability because he did look a lil lost at times out there in the 4th quarter, but since we always have a pretty good scorer in there with him, it shouldn’t be a problem.

    Regarding MWP: if the league is going to take the Malice in the Palace (an event that happened 8 years ago) into consideration for his suspension, then I hope that they take into consideration his J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award from last season as well.

    The sad part today is so many talking heads saying things they perceive to be true as fact. I was listening to the radio and they said that they KNOW FOR A FACT that MWP could see it was Harden in his peripheral vision. I don’t know that. MWP never said he could see anyone, let alone Harden. I’m sure MWP felt someone, but to unequivocally state that MWP knew it was Harden is sensationalism at its best.

    Can’t we just stick to what we know for sure? 1. MWP elbowed Harden in the back of the neck. 2. MWP’s history and reputation makes this play newsworthy. 3. MWP will be suspended. That’s all we really know that is certain right? It might be safe to assume that MWP intentionally threw his elbow, but we can’t assume there was Malice in throwing the elbow. Intention and malice are different things. It’s so sad because I’ve really really liked the type of player and person MWP has been these last few years.

  70. Sorry, couldn’t edit in time:

    Regarding the quotes by other players saying that Hill was now the first big man off the bench, i couldn’t find any. Nor did I find any quotes from Brown saying that. Anyone have a link?

  71. I wonder what Kermit Washington thinks about all this?

    “It’s not like he killed a guy” but he sure came close, didn’t he? Part of the fallout: the careers of two NBA players were ruined and the league tightened the rules against violence on the court.

  72. Great post, Darius. Defending the PnR seems like the biggest Lakers basketball issue to me right now, and this was a nice, balanced breakdown with some good photo evidence.

    MB’s quotes in McMenamin’s story are a bit confusing. At first, it would seem like he’s given Drew the authority to mix coverages up and decide when he shows hard and when he lays back. But then his ending quote seems like he has no clue what Drew is thinking and wants him to show hard all the time. Not sure what’s going on there, seems a bit contradictory.

  73. Jim C.

    Harden is no saint either as if he didn’t provoke the elbowing. MWP will get the punishment that you wanted, no doubt about it. Will this hooliganism stop out from MWP’s punishment? My answer is NO. Basketball is a body contact sport, there is unwritten rule among players that payback would occur if the refs. or the league don’t intervene. How about those players who abuse Pau Gasol like Blake G. of the Clippers? Blake thinks that his actions are also OK because they’re not calling during the games, so he continues doing it to others until he met his counterpart. Therefore, Jim C if you want this to stop hooliganism in basketball, go to the root of the problem not on just the effects. MWP could be the catalyst in the enforcement of the rule for all teams not singling the Laker-Thunder incident and also every incident, even to the point when referees missed calling it. It should be subject to the review of the NBA league. If you don’t go to the root of the problem, players will be players, there will always be payback, trash talking and infighting in exchanging dirty tactics. Where were you when Laimbeer, Mahorn, Rodman, Oakley. Barkley were playing the game? How about McHale cloths-lining Rambis in the Finals? This is an ancient unsportsmanlike conduct that happens in basketball.

  74. Sports Radio Interviews pointed out on Monday afternoon that the betting over/under for Artest’s suspension is 7.5 games; the half-game seemingly in tribute to Laker teammate Andrew Bynum’s half-hearted play of late.

    From ball don’t lie.

    Sad but funny.

  75. Unbelieveable comments by MB. Basically he’s giving Drew the job of reading the P&R and dropping but not so far as to give up an uncontested shot? I read on this blog that the lockerroom board had Drew dropping in all 5 scenarios. If Drew is supposed to show better and hasn’t, then why wasn’t he benched in prior games in favor of McBob (when Hill not on radar) who at least tries to do it with some energy? Why go with someone who doesn’t show up to play? Hurts more than a willing scrub and hurts the team’s spirit.

  76. Even with talking heads like Cowherd the issue surrounding MWP is being entirely missed.

    This isn’t about calculating how extreme the thrown elbow was versus other acts of aggression that have earned people suspensions recently.

    When Stern watches the replays and interviews the principals involved, he has every reason to be seriously suspicious about Ron Ron’s emotional stability.

    Artest reacted like someone who was going through some sort of a frenzied blackout with no recollection of what he did or who was involved or why he did it.

    They were busy trying to talk him down when he was all squared up to go at it with Ibaka.

    That’s the same scary stuff as the melee in the stands fighting with a fan.

    The question Stern has to grapple with is whether or not this guy is stable enough to put back on the court and potentially risk the safety of innocent people at some point in the future.

    And god forbid that were to happen and someone was seriously injured, the media and the authorities and the court of public opinion is going to come right back to this moment in time and ask why was this guy permitted to be back out there when all the signs pointed to his instability?

    If I were Stern I would insist on medical examinations of Ron Ron from the best sources available to determine what kind of a risk I introduce by having this guy on the courts of the NBA anymore.

    And the answers better come back definitively in his favor or his playing days may be over.

  77. Yes, just go and watch the Pistons with their Jordan Rules defense. The Pistons hit Jordan with blows within the context of the game that are similar to MWP’s. Jordan doesn’t even get free throws out of the vicious blows. One time Jordan drives to the basket with Rodman, Laimbeer, et.al, waiting for him at the rim. Jordan jumps in the air to get the shot off bumps into one of the three Pistons guarding when Rodman throws him down to the ground.

    MWP knows the rules of engagement have changed since those days. NBA players today are tissue paper players compared to the players during the Pistons reign.

    The Lakers with a fully engaged Bynum, Pau, and MWP were capable of going all the way to the finals. Hopefully, Ebanks and Barnes will follow MWP’s lead and step up to defend the hottest opposing player.

    “No defense, no rebounds=no rings!”

  78. Dave @ 78 – “Artest reacted like someone who was going through some sort of a frenzied blackout with no recollection of what he did or who was involved or why he did it.

    They were busy trying to talk him down when he was all squared up to go at it with Ibaka.

    That’s the same scary stuff as the melee in the stands fighting with a fan.”
    ——————————

    Yes indeed. It does seem possible that Ron had a psychotic break on both occasions. I wish I bookmarked a recent recollection by some people present at the Chicago/Indy fracas. Artest sounded disassociated then, too. Chilling stuff.

  79. Regarding Bynum, I’m reminded of when Wilt arrived in ’68 and the turmoil that existed then over how to share the basketball between he and West and Baylor.

    So much expectation of that team and most of the time Wilt looked like he was going through the motions and largely disinterested in the result as compared to the perfectionist who was Jerry West.

    Laker fans wanted to love Wilt but couldn’t help feeling like he was capable of so much more of a contribution all the time then what he was making.

    Occasionally he would go out and score 60 points as if to show everyone that he could still do that whenever he wanted. Most of the time he was satisfied with 20 points and 20 rebounds.

    It took several years and Bill Sharman in 1972 to finally crack the code on Wilt and translate his contribution into the greatest team ever assembled.

    I don’t know where we’re at with Bynum, but Wilt wasn’t much for bringing passion to the game either. He just wasn’t built for that. He outplayed his counterpart usually by a wide margin night in and night out, but he didn’t play the game with much passion.

    Sometimes we expect to be able to put into these athletes what god left out. It doesn’t work that way.

  80. Spurs are really consistent in stomping opponents.

    win margin last 6 games: 35, 16, 24, 25, 21, 21

  81. #74. I took Brown’s comments as an explanation for what Bynum is thinking rather than what he was endorsing what Bynum should do. The phrasing is a bit confusing, but based off his earlier comments about wanting his bigs to be up on the screen and Bynum’s propensity to play back, that’s how I interpreted it.

  82. still dont think the spurs are gonna make it out of a second round max. too much reliance on jump shooting not a good formula. no inside presence and duncan is no longer reliable

  83. Having had a good friend who was on certain medication to contol anger issues, I can’t help but wonder.

    I remember my friend wanted to play in a important golf tournament and decided he would play better without the meds. A week of zero meds resulted in a out of control club throwing, screaming tirad on the course.

    It was not pretty and he later remembered little of it. Just wondering if Ron vastly more aggressive and better play the past 2 weeks and his lose of control had anything to do with changes in his medication regiment.

  84. Some people are reading way too much into Ron’s elbow. He is not a psychopath; he is a basketball player. Can’t blame a guy for getting fired up – I’ve been waiting for SOMEONE to wake up on this squad and show some damn passion. It’s unfortunate his elbow connected with Harden’s head in such a manner, but I don’t think it was his intention to cause the damage it caused. Love’s headstomp was far worse, given the clear intention to inflict pain and damage.

    Can’t wait for the playoffs and the new excuses Aaron conjures up for Bynum’s half-hearted play and Hill’s poor play as we get knocked out in the first or second round.

  85. Speaking of Bynum. They are just creaming the guy on the K-Bros sight. 90% blasting him for his lazy play and complete lack of interest on the bench while his teammates made the amazing comeback.

    Would self centered be a good description of Andrew?

  86. I went to a fight the other night and a hockey game broke out.

    You know, in nearly every mainstream American sport, fights and borderline dirty play are typical. But only in basketball is there this very charged language around violence. Many spaces where basketball is played allow physical confrontation, and while it is not “part of the game,” it is part of the culture. That is the nature of contact sports that require a great degree of emotional engagement for great play. I think that the process of selling the NBA to a wider market of viewers has changed expectations on the players, but also shifted the language surrounding the sport.

    The unspoken word here is race, and if not race, an accusatory and distrustful gaze. Nearly every basketball website/commentator has termed Artest’s elbow “vicious”, a word, in this context, mostly associated with criminals, military, and animals.

  87. As I posted in the last thread: Enough with the hyperbole and trying to outdo each other concerning MWP’s foul and possible suspension length.

    My opinion is he would get a 1-3 game suspension.
    This was based on using recent analogous foul situations and the suspensions they generated.
    I gave three examples: 1 old and two recent.
    I’ll recap and add one:

    1. Rambis-McHale – 0 games, 0 Techs. Worst of this group. Literal clothesline around the neck on a fast break on a player in the air going for a layup and falling 3 feet onto his back and head. But it was 1984 when men were men and the TV announcer said “It’s part of the game, you know”. (7 years after Washington-Tomjanovich fight).

    2. Fisher-Scola – 1 game. Players were on the ground with both players fairly stationary. Fisher’s hit was harder, a solid shoulder and head hit into Scola’s chest and chin. Knocked Scola to the ground.
    TV announcer said “There was meaning to that”, “Fisher is quietly one of the toughest players in the NBA,” and “There was a message in that, believe me, ‘take that’”. 2009.

    3. Love-Scola – 2 games. Power forward looking down and making sure he steps on the face of a player lying on the court. 2012.

    4. Bynum-Barea – 5 games, reduced to 4 by short season. Forearm to the side/armpit of a player driving down the lane in the air going for a layup and falling 3 feet on his side. Similar to #1, except less velocity and landing on his side.
    TV announcers using hyperbole trying to outdo each other saying how bad it was. 2011.
    How far the attitudes have fallen in just 2 years.
    No mention of Barea’s shoulder/forearm cheap shot on Blake at the start of the play which should have been called an offensive foul, or running the score up with a 32 point lead.

    Three of the four involve Lakers; one being fouled, two doing the fouling.

    Instead of pontificating about how many games MWP should get by pulling numbers out of thin air based on your bias and prejudice for or against the Lakers, please give analagous foul situations and the actual games suspended. Then give a reasoned number based on those precedents.

    Thank you.

  88. @69 – It was already well known that Hill is one of the best rebounders in the league, and is a quick and athletic 6-10. He’s always had a hard time defending big centers in the post, but backing up Bynum and Gasol he wouldn’t have to do that a whole lot. Brown may have not had a whole lot of confidence in Hill, but the team has been getting poor to terrible play from McRoberts and terrible to execrable play from Murphy pretty much the whole season.

    Sure, Hill played great against OKC, but he could just as easily be back at the end of the bench in the playoffs as he could be playing 30 minutes. I hope Brown proves me wrong, but I just don’t think he has a real keen eye for the obvious.

  89. I agree with Jim C. assessment of Bynum, little else to add other than that I see a guy who is genuinely not interested in basketball. He doesn’t love the game, at least not to the extent where he itches to be on the court at all times, involved in the game even if he’s not playing, etc. Oh yeah, and it’s HIS team to boot. His teammates. He just doesn’t care enough.

    That why I would take Howard, even with his prima donna personality and tantrums and indecisiveness, because Dwight actually does seem to like playing ball. It’s a shame that talent does not always require enough passion for the sport.

    As for saving Hill, to my knowledge he was injured, period. Took enough time to recover, and was put into action as soon as he was fit. We’re not San Antonio with the roster set and the coach doing things his way forever. We went through a head coaching change and got rid of Odom and Fisher(and Luke) our three veterans.

    So MB was using every opportunity possible to get players acquainted, with the condensed schedule probably limiting practice even further.

    Hence it’s VERY UNLIKELY that MB saved Hill as a secret weapon. He’s probably had little to no practice and the only reason he even got to play was that management (and MB) knew about what Hill could do before he joined the Lakers, not from anything Hill did as a Laker.

    Still, I like our chances. Even Shaq made free throws when they counted. Bynum will be interested and motivated when it counts.

    PS – yes, I’m still in denial. I don’t remember what happened last year.

  90. Hill tweaked his MCL in Feb. when he was still with Houston.
    He tweaked it again after coming to the Lakers.
    I would think the Lakers were being careful not to rush him into playing so he could fully heal.
    Add to that it takes time to learn the offensive and defensive schemes so the coaches and players have confidence in him.

    I tend to think Brown is playing him now mostly because he is finally ready to go, rather than holding him out so other teams don’t see him.
    This is his third year in the NBA, so teams should know most of what he can do.

  91. All the debate going as to why Hill had not played much is puzzling to me. No he wasn’t a secret weapon. He SPRAINED HIS KNEE shortly after arriving here and is just now getting back. It was reported all over. That’s why brown called him at 2AM to see if he was good to go. Even in an interview after the OKC game he admitted he still isn’t 100% yet but is getting better.

    Rest assured the Lakers knew what they were getting because I’m no scout and I knew what they were getting. A great rebounding high energy guy. I fully expect to see him get some significant minutes down the stretch as he becomes more comfortable. Because not only did he get hurt, there probably wasn’t much time to practice as well.

  92. Anonymous,

    You don’t need to get into name-calling or emasculation to get the point accross. My point from earlier was that most players come from courts where they don’t play ‘our’ brand of ball, expectations for a mickey mouse sporting product (because that’s what Stern has turned it into). There are valid reasons why that transformation has been undertaken. I think this is most evident in the way that players are responding to MWP, and how players react to fake tough guys (who benefit from the Mickey Mouse-ing of the game; Griffin, Garnett, the usual suspects), often with condescension and combativeness. Meanwhile, pundits are calling for many things, including playoff ban to criminal prosecution.

  93. Frank the Tank April 24, 2012 at 4:46 am

    I have the perfect analogous situation for the MWP incident, and it even happened this year. In the all star game no less. A certain Lakers’ star player was given a concussion (and a broken nose), but since he’s much tougher than the Beard he finished off the game. The punishment for wade, the one who fouled kobe unnecessary on what should have been a dunk? Nothing.

    So World Peace should play in the Sacramento game.

  94. Plan9FOS: What MWP “will” get and what he “should” get are 2 different things. I think he will ge an absolute minimum of 5 and will probably get 7 or more. Reasons:
    1) This will be his 13th career suspension for physical stuff.
    2) The high definition reply captured the Mike Tyson like expression and overall anger.
    3) Harden will still be being evaluated and will be “day to day” when the decision is made.
    4) This is a head injury which has been a focal point for all sports recently.
    5) Stern does not like us and none of the other owners do either.
    6) We could face OKC in the playoffs, and I believe they want to avoid issues, and a long suspnesion could do that.

    I hope the suspension is lower, but I am fearful of the high number.

    PS: I know some are tired of talking about this, but the season somewhat hangs in the balance on this decision. Many of you (inclusive of one of the boards most frequent posters) have repeatedly stated how important MWP is, and how well he has been playing of late. So please do not say that this is not a big deal to our hopes, because it is.

  95. Let’s look at the bright side. We lost Artest for at least 10 games. We gained a big time rebounder and defender we didn’t have all season in Hill. In addition we really only had Artest tbe last two weeks because that Metta guy who was bricking 3 pointers the other 40 games was terrible.

    Case you forgot he was shooting 32% from the field, 20% from three and 52% from the line and was getting beat by every quick defender. Go back and look at the numbers in early March.

    Metta stunk yet we were winning. Hill didn’t exist. If Ron is gone(my sources say 10 games) we basically traded Metta for Jordan Hill and since pick n roll has been our biggest problem I think we just upgraded!

    Just looking at tbe positive side of life.

  96. Ko: You have a very reasonable viewpoint. MWP was playing poorly pre-ASG, however recently he has been huge, + this is where we have been playing better. Also, I would love to see Hill continue at this rate, however so far we have 1 game, so let’s not just yet conclude this will be the norm. I agree with your fear of 10 games. From my standpoint, that would be devastating, as that would mean deep into the 2nd series, + then we would have to phase MWP back in (he would also have a hard time being aggressive which is what we need him to be). So I like your half full side of the mug, but to be a threat in the playoffs, we need a full pour.

  97. Going back and reading all the posts it seems like 30% were retorts by Aaron to other posts..

    I get the feeling as a child Aaron must have been ignored. Or wasn’t allowed to speak.

    Just guessing.

  98. Robert #97 – You know and I know this remains a seriously flawed team and the landscape has reached the point where it is shifting from game to game now.

    There are so many players on the Lakers who no one knows what they can expect from them. I like Jordan Hill, but now he’s the savior after one game? Devin Ebanks? come on.

    What is Bynum going to bring? What is Sessions going to bring? Hell, what is Kobe going to bring? Even his performance the past two games could best be descibed as “uneven”.

    With or without Artest, this team won’t get out of the second round and maybe not even the first unless our best players (Bryant, Bynum, Gasol, Sessions) do an immediate about face and start delivering consistently reliable high level performances game after game.

    If we’re to continue with this one game he’s great, next game he disappears or plays awful, we’re dead!

    And that’s the way it’s been for this team all season long. Two steps forward, one step back.

    Sometimes entertaining but by no means a championship caliber team.

  99. Kareem,

    I’m nodding in agreement reading your posts. For some reason people expect NBA players to play like puppies. These same people have either conviniently forgotten the league’s recent history or suffer from ignorance. We keep hearing how 80′s and 90′s basketball was so much better, how it was more pure. Sure it was. Guys like Kevin McHale, Maurice Lucas, all 15 of the Bad Boy Pistons, Charles Oakley, Vernon Maxwell, Robert Parish, and Anthony Mason kept it “pure” with their rough and often line crossing styles of play. Yet, those were the good old days. No one was a “thug” back then and people where not hiding their women and children.

    Oddly enough this generation of NBA players (tattoos and all) are probably the most docile group I have seen since I began watching NBA basketball in the 1980′s.

  100. T Rogers #102 – That may all be true. And every sport has it’s unspoken rules of enforcement where players and sometimes teams have to find subtle ways to make their point.

    But this deal with Artest is entirely different. It’s like a random act of violence where the perpetrator seemingly had no pre or post awareness of what had actually taken place until it was explained to him.

    That to me is scarier than a guy who deliberately clocks someone. It’s like Artest was in some kind of a zone where he was ready to fight the world and had to be talked off the ledge and back into reality.

  101. 68)
    Let’s be honest… I know Darius is so afraid of letting any social truth spill on this blog (and maybe for good reason, this is a basketball blog) But based on the history of this country… Is it that suprising people get so upset with an Artest elbow but don’t even raise an eye brow over a Love face stomp? Let’s just say Artest looks more scary shall we?

    72)
    Go to the post game interviews on ESPNLA and click on Amdrew Bynum’s problem solved ;)

  102. … It wouldn’t let me edit the comment. But it’s not suprising the immature and free wheeling Bynum is the only one not tonhave a filter and let out that the plan is to have Hill take over the back up big man spot for the playoff run. Oh well… No harm done right? Is it illegal to change your rotations for the playoffs? I guess the Lakers just want to keep as many people guessing as possible.

  103. Dave,
    Exactly the opposite. That’s how talented the Lakers are that you need to swicth your concerns from game to game. For years it was how can the Lakers win with Horry defending PFs or Derek Fisher defending PGs and with no athletic penetrating guard. Then it was how can we win with VladRad starting and Derek Fisher. Then it was how can we win with the undersized Gasol at Center. Then it was how can we win with Derek Fisher and McBob/Murphy playing. Then it was how can we win with Blake at back up PG and McBob off the bench. Now with Hill replacing McBob/Murphy and Kobe playing back up PG (allowing Blake to be the good spot up shooter he is) the Lakers are truly set. We need to really nit pick to find weaknesses. Kobe Bryant? If you are worried about Kobe freaking Bryant you have very little to be worried about. If you are worried about your seven foot all league first team center playing hard in the playoffs you have very little to be worried about. Let’s put things in perspectives for our fellow fanatics.

  104. T. Rogers,

    I don’t think that it’s the players who are producing this type of docile character, but rather the industry, as a streamlined profit-process has started to produce archetypes that are highly marketable. And players conform because it means money. Skills, of course, are important, but a large number of players have lost lucrative advertising deals because of their ‘bad boy’ actions –> image. The game itself still offers these players supremely large contracts (Rasheed Wallace, Kobe, Iverson, Kenyon Martin as recent examples), which makes me feel that players/coaches/managers still recognize the value of this archetype on teams. The league, the industry, and a new market of viewers who watch the game “with their 7yo son” and look to athletes for emulation/adulation (for reasons beyond me) are all on the outside of the game looking in, and they’re looking to judge these mostly black bodies by largely white-formed social expectations.

    I’m a health practitioner, so I get the arguments about protecting players. That makes sense, and suspensions should be in order for this type of play, but there is complete inconsistency in how people talk about and how the league reacts to players like Artest. Artest may receive upwards of 7 games, but compare this to the language around Love and his hit on Luis Scola.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SDf5QO_bko

    Love hard fouled Scola on a post up, then, once Scola was on the ground, Love looked down and intentionally stomped on Scola’s face. Two game suspension. There was absolutely no talk about a ‘vicious’ stomp or of anything that should lead toward a long-term suspension or removal from the league. Why?

    Here’s what’ BDL said about it.

    “It doesn’t excuse the stupid and suspension-worthy act on Love’s part that followed.”

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/video-kevin-love-no-mincing-words-stomped-luis-164915189.html

    From the Minnesota star tribune, which was linked on truehoop (not warranting a full spread on the page).

    Buried at the end of the page: “The big talker out of Saturday’s game came in the third quarter, when Love stepped on the face and chest of Luis Scola on his way up the court. Videos of the event were on the Internet before the game was over. Afterward Love apologized to Scola and said it was not intentional but was the result of his stumbling as he went to run up the court.”

    http://www.startribune.com/sports/wolves/138753474.html

    From the NBA.com hangtime blog:

    “His stomp of Luis Scola (check the video above) is sure to draw the eye of the league’s Punishment Police. Now we understand things got heated during the game, but here at the hideout we don’t condone the literal stomping of an opponent outside of a cage match.”

    http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2012/02/05/the-kevin-love-stomp/

    “The punishment for this blow will be severe. It has to be. It better be.
    There is no logical explanation for the wicked elbow Metta World Peace delivered to James Harden with 1:37 to play before halftime of the Lakers-Thunder game.
    Even if the player formerly known as Ron Artest pleaded temporary insanity, it would explain the foolishness he unleashed on an unsuspecting Harden after his fast-break dunk. The chest pounding celebration is one thing. But hauling back with and unleashing that elbow on a totally unsuspecting Harden has all of the elements of a player gone completely off the edge, even if it was just a momentary lapse…

    There is no overreaction to a shot like this. There is no other context that needs to be understood. The video (above, in slow mow and from a couple of different angles) says it all. And I’d say the same if Pau Gasol or Matt Barnes had thrown that elbow. There’s no place for it outside of the UFC.
    That’s why the penalty should be swift and severe, at least a vacation for the remainder of the regular season … for starters!”

    from the hang-time blog, http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2012/04/22/metta-world-peace-gone-wrong/

    You could say that Artest has history and Love doesn’t. But Love’s stomp was by far WORSE than Artest’s elbow. The intent was obvious and it was above the shoulders. What gives?

  105. Quick question: do we own the tiebreaker with Mem if they win out, the clips lose a game, and we lose on Thursday? What if it’s a three-way tie with Mem and the Clips? I know we own the one on one tiebreaker with Blake and co, but not sure what happens if Mem gets in the mix…

    also, I know it’s gotten lost in the MWP madness, but thanks for the great post re the PnR. fwiw, I interpret Brown’s comments re: Drew a little differently– namely, that Drew has a little freedom to drop off on the PnR, but if it’s not working (by which I guess the PG is hitting midrange jumpers or getting to the rim), he then needs to get with the program and hedge hard, something he clearly was not doing against either SAS or OKC. Let’s hope that Hill’s emergence pushes Bynum in the right direction, although I mostly agree with Aaron’s belief that the playoffs should see a more engaged Drew… but I would add the caveat of ‘at least as long as things are going well’ as I really question his ability to play well or even remain engaged when the chips are down… In this regard, he really is the anti-Kobe.

  106. #108. The way I understand it, the seedings would go Lakers 3, Clippers 4, Memphis 5. Lakers tiebreaker over the Clips mean they win the division and a top 4 seed automatically. Clippers own the tiebreaker over the Grizz which gives them the higher seed over Memphis. So that sets the order as the Grizz get dropped to 5th b/c there’s a division crown at stake.

  107. This team in the halfcourt can score on anybody. 3 isolation players who can get a bucket. When Kuester comes back I see a more fluid offense and adjustments on that end.

    The one thing that has hampered this team is PnR defense. If and it’s a big IF the Lakers can contain pg’s like they did westbrook they have a chance to beat anybody.

    5 minutes to go and a 5 point game either way I’ll take any time.

  108. Dave’s post @100 is valid. The team has many questions to answer, preceeded by a big answer that will come from Stern. Optimism is fine – but it must be tempered with a little reality (unless you are physically at a game – and then you can just drink and be a total homer – at least that is what I do). That said:
    1) KB: I am a Kobe fanatic, but I agree that he must show up in full, for us to have any chance. He can’t be passive Kobe like he was aginst SA, and he can’t be cold for 3 1/2 quarters, and then go nuts like he did against OKC. We will need a consistent 30 points game with a 45% FG%.
    2) AB: We need 20/15 in the playoffs and no pouting. He has been pouting and he has been inconsistent, and this must change in the playoffs.
    3) Pau: He has been playing very well, so we just need him to stay the course. In my opinion the first couple of playoff games will be key, for his playoff confidence, else the demons of 2011 may return.
    4) RS: Who knows? What’s up with the shoulder? What’s up with his defense? Was his confidence damaged by that last game? We need a full throttle RS as well.
    5) MWP: How many games as outlined in other posts? Without him – our defense takes a huge blow, and to be a true threat we need Game 7 type MWP.
    6) Bench: Hill can help here, but let’s not jump to the conclusion that Hill is next year’s sixth man of the year just yet. Barnes must play at peak efficiency, and Blake must hit his spot ups.
    7) No foul trouble and no injuires (and we need some MWP).

    If you look at these things “reasonably”: Can all of this happen? – yes – will it happen? – We will see, however it is a little optimistic to predict that the Lakers will max out in every one of these areas. There are no major experts predicting a title for the Lakers. Nobody would totally count them out either, but that’s about it.

  109. It’s really disturbing how literally every news source is calling this a “vicious” elbow every time they reference it… let’s see what the dictionary says these people are invoking every time they lazily reuse that phrase:

    vicious – Adjective:
    1. Deliberately cruel or violent.
    2. (of an animal) Wild and dangerous to people.
    Synonyms: wicked – malicious – evil – bad – perverse

    That is a very strong word – one that does not accurately describe this situation, unless you think Ron Artest maliciously intended to be cruel to Harden, or that he is an unstable, wild animal, which has obvious disturbing undertones given the complete lack of such imagery with the Scola face stomp.

  110. @Edwin Gueco

    Nothing Harden did provoked that sort of reaction by Peace. Period. Simply getting in his space a little bit or saying something doesn’t get that reaction. There’s absolutely no way that we wouldn’t be completely up in arms if, say, a big, strong guy like Lebron James dunked on us and then proceeded to throw a similar elbow at Kobe.

    We would be calling it what it was, an unnecessary and dirty cheap shot. Durant was right when he described it in the interview as “not a basketball play”. There’s a large difference between hard fouls and thuggery. There is a difference between fouling Bynum hard to prevent him from finishing a dunk and laying him out with a deliberate elbow to the head complete with windup and follow-through.

    Simply saying that this stuff has happened in the past doesn’t make it right in the present. It also ignores the big strides that the NBA has taken in stamping it out by handing out flagrant fouls more liberally and doing what is about to happen to Peace: suspending the offenders for long stretches.

    And whether we like it or not, Peace has a history that can and SHOULD be factored in. Nor should things like Love getting off easy for his first offense make what Peace did okay either.

    On a separate subject, there’s no freaking way that Brown was saving Hill up as a secret weapon. None whatsoever. Anyone who thinks that might want to take off the tinfoil hat. Hill is a young player wanting to make his mark in the league. I doubt he’d be okay with riding the pine for weeks (albeit some of that time with an injury) to be some secret weapon. He’s got a contract to earn.

  111. @Jim C., would you call what Harden did a “basketball play”? (since you mentioned it)

  112. Robert: All solid points.

    It was a one point game before the elbow. Lakers have played elite teams well in 1st halves including SA in both losses. They just haven’t been able to adjust and play PnR defense. The game in OKC was close in the 1st half. The game in Miami was and the Chicago game too.

    The problem comes in 3rd quarters. And many times it has been because of PnR defense Westbrook went off in LA, Parker shredded lakers twice 3rd qtr all off PnR. If that is fixed lakers are fine.

    Offense isn’t a problem with this team in half court. Sessions has to play well and the team has to hit timely shots but PnR defense is the key.

  113. Praying to the basketball gods we get Denver first round.

  114. @BlizzardOfOz
    Not sure what you’re referring to. Getting in Peace’s way? Bodying up a bit? I didn’t see Harden do anything that really made me feel what Peace did was at all warranted.

    @Anonymous
    Nice try. Troll harder. 1 out of 10 for effort.

  115. Kareem,

    You are on point! Today’s leauge is watered-down entertainment meant to please those who probably will never play basketball outside of a gym. Those basketball fans who will never ever understand “contact” in any sport except on their video games.

    Certainly Love’s foul on Luis was vicious! Artest foul was him being overly emotional at the time with no intent. Why do some want to use the terms perpetrator, criminal, thug, or vicious? Was Mchale a thug? Is Love a criminal? Was the Bad Boys of the 80′s all possible thugs with criminal physcotic intent? Believe me there should be a suspension. Going with protocol that means no more than 5 games! Don’t treat him any different than the rest of the league darlings.

  116. @106, 118 – Spot on with all your points. The media outcry around the MWP-Harden play relative to the Love-Scola play is a clear example of subconscious racism, IMO. One other thing I noticed watching the replay several times: Harden went out of his way to get a whistle (even more than I initially thought) to try and provoke MWP into either charging over Harden, or throwing Harden aside. He sure got a lot more than he bargained for. I wonder if he will continue his cheap attempts to draw a whistle on similar plays in the future. He actually moved laterally four or five feet into MWP’s path in order to draw contact. Well, he certainly did get some contact.

    @120 – Harden actually moved four or five feet to the left into MWP’s path and drew first contact. It was more than just standing in his way, but I don’t think it should or will be a factor in the NBA’s decision. You can’t throw elbows like that in today’s NBA and get away with it. What Harden did was an annoyance. What MWP did was more of an MMA move. He should get five to ten games, but I think it will be more like the first two rounds of the playoffs.

  117. There is literally an article on espn comparing Ron artest to the dalai lama. This has gotten very silly. Look, as much as I am against violence, it’s a freaking elbow in the game of basketball. Maybe in our white washed, wonder bread society this is a big deal, but come on! Yeah, it shouldn’t be rewarded, but a 10 game suspension?! That’s crazy to me. Stern has already screwed the Lakers this year, I think he’ll go easier than 10 games. We can only hope.

    The real question is once he comes back, can he play at the same level?

  118. PS – Just got a whole bunch more respect for Matt Barnes. The one NBA player I hated for many years was Bruce Bowen, because he deliberately tried to injure opponents in a calculated manner, and the league let him get away with it because of Stern’s close personal friendship with San Antonio’s owners. Here’s Barnes calling out Bowen for his sanctimonious words about MWP on ESPN:
    ———————————————
    So #BruceBowen thinks Ron should be suspended 10games, that’s coming from a guy that use to stick his foot under people’s feet when they’d shoot jumpers.. F.O.H

    A Tweet by @Matt_Barnes22
    http://twitter.com/#!/Matt_Barnes22
    ——————————————–
    That was awesome.

  119. @121, 118, et al. So let me get this straight, if MWP gets a long suspension for giving a guy a concussion it’s because of racism? Seriously guys turn off the MSNBC and stop looking at EVERYTHING through the prism of race.

  120. Wade hit Kobe people were calling for suspension including me. Ron gives someone a concussion with a elbow and harden shouldn’t have been in the way. You guys sound silly. 2 of the worst cheap shots in the last year have come from Lakers.

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

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3fg6ZbobZw&feature=related

    Here’s Ron initiating contact. Why can’t ron just play on like these guys did.

  121. @Paul L – You completely misinterpreted those comments, but that’s not surprising considering what you said in your last sentence.

  122. Blake Griffin dunking on Pau delivering a forearm in the process of a BASKETBALL PLAY he’s a punk and that’s a offensive foul.

    Ron throws elbows at a player, who was killing the Lakers, while he’s not looking it’s tough basketball. Next time he shouldn’t be in the way and let him celebrate. I got it.

  123. @126 Since I clearly do not understand please explain these two statements.

    “Are some people overreacting, being hypocritical, and in some cases, downright racist in their comments and calls for discipline? Absolutely.”

    “The media outcry around the MWP-Harden play relative to the Love-Scola play is a clear example of subconscious racism, IMO.”

  124. Kevin,
    Kobe received a concussion on a foul Wade admitted was intentional DURING AN ALL STAR GAME. I didn’t think he should be suspended for one game. I didn’t think he deserved anything. That’s a basketball play. A cheap basketball play. I have no problem with that. James Harden likes to block a celebrating players celebration as he runs back up the court to try and get under their skin and draw an offensive foul. That is a cheap basketball play. Harded deserves a technical for that but not an elbow to the back of the head. Ron deserves to be suspended. If it was based as usual on precedence he would receive a 2 game ban. If it was upped because he has been suspended before he would receive a 3 or 4 game ban. That is what we should be looking at.

  125. Did no one else see the photo of Harden laying on the ground, looking through his fingers OBVIOUSLY to see what the refs were going to do?

    If you watch the play in slow motion, of COURSE it looks terrible, just like a semi-impressive dunk suddenly looks “epic” in slow-mo. IF you watch it in real-time, it looks like a flagrant two that should result in a multi-game suspension, but surely not BANNING and surely not more than 5 games. There is way too much hyperbole going on about it and way too many people willing to throw Artest under the bus like he’s some kind of “animal” or something. It’s absurd. It was a bad play, dumb move on Artest’s part and it should and will be punished. But some of you are acting like you haven’t been watching basketball for the last 10 years.

  126. actually, the US constitution does uphold a man’s right to resort to violence in some situations, just like the Declaration of Independance does.

    this is not to excuse Artest. he deserves a suspension.

    before everyone gets too sanctimonious about it, ELBOWS ARE, AND HAVE ALWAYS BEEN, PART OF COMPETITION.

    we need rules and penalties to keep the competition from getting out of hand, so MWP needs to be punished. it’s not necessary to demonize him, though. Kareem threw vicious elbows, Shaq was quite violent at times, Malone was a master of mayhem, Barkley was mean as it gets, Mahorn was a brute, the list goes on and on. ALL of the greats and many of the not-so-greats have had a moment like MWP’s latest transgression, some have had carreers of those moments. get over yourselves, all you high and mighties.

    humans are dangerous, like dogs, bulls, wolves, snakes, sharks, wasps, and tigers. don’t mess with us.

    Andrew Bynum needs to move his butt, period. if he can’t bring himself to play defense and rebound regardless of what happens with the offense, he needs to go to another team. if you aren’t helping, you’re hurting.

  127. Aaron: Wade’s play wasn’t a basketball play. he said after it was a retaliation foul from when he thought he was fouled.

    Ron threw a elbow to someone’s head. How can you defend that? By saying Harden was in the way. I’m not buying that. Nobodys calling him a animal we’re saying it was a obvious unwarranted cheap shot which deserves harsh penalties.

  128. Kevin,
    not “harsh” penalties, just the normal penalty. it wasn’t vicious, it was stupid. it wasn’t designed to injure or maim, it was unfortunate. those elbows are thrown every other game, they don’t always connect. that elbow wouldn’t have connected if Harden had seen it coming, he was blindsided. i don’t think MWP even saw his target.

    a mean elbow? 3 games max.
    because it’s Artest? 5 games.

    that’s plenty harsh.

  129. @128 – This statement: “Are some people overreacting, being hypocritical, and in some cases, downright racist in their comments and calls for discipline? Absolutely.”

    A number of reporters have called for MWP to be suspended for the rest of the season plus the entire postseason. That’s overreacting, IMO. Bruce Bowen’s sanctimonious take on the play is hypocritical, as while MWP threw a strong elbow to the head without thinking, Bowen used to calculate how he could injure an opponent and get away with it. As for the downright racist, I think you’d have to go to the ESPN and Yahoo comments for that, as I didn’t see anything like that here.
    ———————————————-
    This comment: “The media outcry around the MWP-Harden play relative to the Love-Scola play is a clear example of subconscious racism, IMO.”

    It’s because of the sheer amount of publicity and hyperbole that the MWP-Harden play got compared to the Love-Scola play, and the number of people and instances where MWP’s play was called vicious, thuggish, animalistic, etc. compared to Love’s. MSNBC has got nothing to do with it.

  130. The number of people on this blog who are willing to minimize what MWP did is astonishing. Of all the numerous examples of homerism, this has to take the cake.

    We are talking about a multiple-time violator here. This is guy who went into the stands and attacked a fan. And before you get on your high horse and talk of how much MWP had rehabilitated himself and those past events are ancient history, take a deep breath and try real hard to remember last year’s playoffs (I know it’s hard to go that far back) and recall that MWP was suspended for a game for a forearm shot to the face of JJ Barea–a little act of thuggery that has been totally overshadowed by Andrew Bynum’s subsequent act of even greater thuggery.

    I’ll tell you what, it’s real irritating to be called “anti-Laker” or now apparently “racist” for calling this what it is: a totally, 100% unjustified elbow to the head of an opponent while running down the floor. This was not a basketball play, and is totally distinguishable from a situation where a guy with the ball is fouled hard (even intentionally). To suggest that this was even partially Harden’s fault is such an absurdity.

    I’m a Laker fan, and I love when Bynum and Artest (and Barnes and McRoberts, and Kobe…) play hard-nosed and physical basketball. What happened on Sunday was not that, and it doesn’t make a person less of a fan (or for crying out loud a “racist”) for being an objective observer.

  131. Funky Chicken, as to running into the stands, that was totally wrong. HOWEVER,

    we’re only human. if i was lying down and someone lobbed a drink onto my face from several rows up, i’d go kick the perpetrator’s ass, too.

    this is not an excuse, it’s just a fact. everyone has a “on” button for what James Brown called “KaRaZEY”.

  132. mud: “those elbows are thrown every other game” Name one recently?

    Like a recent poster said If this is Perkins it’s a totally different story.

  133. 138(Kevin)-

    no need to name one. elbows are thrown under the basket all the time. they don’t usually connect. Kobe throws elbows, all “physical” players throw elbows. Kareem was tone of the elbowingest guys ever. most are strategic. MWP’s elbow was unthinking and reactionary, that’s the difference. Harden didn’t expect it.

    remember when Barkley elbowed in the Olympics?

    how about these guys not being suspended forever? instead, they just get together to laugh about it. basketball is a physical, contact sport, and you play at the risk of your very life, even if we do try to minimize that risk. no! James Harden doesn’t deserve injury, but it happens.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91p_RYTUYXI

    this is how premeditated shots work, or one of the ways:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dmS40OYJ3o

    how about Bill Cartwright destroying more than one guy’s eye sockets?

    no one says that Harden deserved a concussion. that’s stupid. i do say that if there’s a Harley belonging to a Hell’s Angel member and you want to rub up against it because the biker has no business getting violent with you, and he kicks your ass, while i don’t support the biker getting away with brutality, i’m still saying that you should’ve not been messing around, and that YOU have to take some responsibility for your injuries.

    my grandmother always said, “it takes two to tango”.

  134. I don’t know if anyone’s claiming people calling for a suspension are racist. That’s misinterpretation. Artest certainly deserves punishment for a non-basketball and excessive play. What people are saying is that, by comparison, Kevin Love should have gotten much more than 2 games and there should have been comparable media attention, rather than the muted response that surrounded his stomp.

  135. mud: elbows are still part of the game today like standing in front of a player and trash talking. Much rarer than the 80s or even 90s. A lot of those clips guys were face to face not running by someone delivering a blow to the head. Different game now no one knows what ron was thinking or if it was reactionary or not or what punishment he should get. What we do know is halfway through his celebration he threw a elbow that was meant to do some type of damage.

  136. imho, the Kevin Love incident had the exact response that would’ve been appropriate for the MWP incident.

    fine him, suspend him a couple of games, then get over it.

  137. @134 I agree that B. Bowen’s analysis was highly hypocritical.
    The reason that the MWP elbow is getting more publicity is because it happened on a nationally televised Sunday game between two of the better and more popular teams in the league. Outside of Minnesota and Houston no one really cares about the T-wolves or the Rockets. Furthermore, a MWP suspension would hinder a potential championship run by the Lakers. A Kevin Love suspension in the middle of the season means very little. I heard outrage over both incidents from black and white commentators alike.
    If there is concrete reason to point to racism and a lack of other plausible explanations for an incident being race-driven then I will firmly point it out and condemn it. However, I will not point to racism as the sole explanation simply by default.

  138. Kevin, we don’t know that his elbow was “meant to do damage”.

    to me, it just looked like he was brushing off whomever was on his back(violently). there’s no way that he aimed that shot.

    elbows are and always have been, part of the game, hence the rules. throwing an elbow is a natural, HUMAN reaction.

    let’s not pretend that these players are bound by the three rules of robotics.

    i don’t understand it. basketball is a VIOLENT sport. there are rules to keep it from getting out of hand, but there’s no taking the violence out without ruining the game. the Grfffin dunk on Pau is a perfect example.

    people will get carried away sometimes. that’s why we have refs to go with the rules. it’s too bad that they don’t do their actual job, which is to keep the violence from getting out of control.

  139. The much more interesting news story of the day:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-24/nepotism-concern-roils-nba-union-as-players-question-hire.html

    That Bloomberg report is great. Interesting to see how much this will sway NBA players’ opinions now that this nepotism is all in the open. Most of us always believed Fisher to be more trustworthy than Hunter, and this just reinforces that notion. Fisher had very good reason to call for an independent review.

  140. mud: it is time to move on not sure laker fans would be able to had it been pau or kobe with a concussion game out from the playoffs.

    hope the suspension comes down soon.

  141. Kevin, if it were Kobe or Pau, i would’ve hated it, but it wouldn’t change the reality or how i see this. it’s not an issue of who benefits. it’s simple, the infraction requires a suspension.

    when Kobe was hit by that cheap shot in the All Star Game, i cursed at D Wade and then moved on.

    also, Kobe and Pau wouldn’t have put themselves into that situation. when Kobe messed with Ron, he kept his head on a swivel and dished out more than he took. remember? he elbowed Ron in the throat.

  142. Kevin, Funky Chicken,

    How would you compare the Love incident with the Peace incident?
    Was one a bigger transgression than the other?

  143. Just for the record (again), I support a 2-5 game suspension, the higher number based on his multiple violations (if you buy that argument). I find those asking for a higher suspension wrong because, as far as I know, the NBA doesn’t have strict protocols regarding “repeat offenders.” They would do so more so to protect their product and pockets. So I wouldn’t go too far in defending the League’s self-interested decisions.

    What I am finding fault with is the way people are talking about Ron Artest’s “temporary insanity”, “viciousness”, and “thuggery”. All this about a man who had a difficult upbringing and who has worked harder than most to try and deal with his anger issues. And he has done this voluntarily and with great vigor. People are flawed. All of us are flawed. Statistically speaking, half of us have done hard drugs, cheated on a significant other, driven under the influence, etc. etc. etc. The word that someone used was sanctimonious, and I think that this truly applies. I wish we had a microscope to investigate all of your low-down moments and flash flood them into the media so that your employers would force your dismissal and people would know you as the imperfection that you are.

    Ron Artest made a stupid decision on a basketball court. He could have seriously hurt Harden, and thankfully he didn’t. He should be suspended. He shouldn’t be compared to a thug or an animal or criminal. I’ll go on the record and say that he’s probably done more good in his recent life than I have. I don’t buy the hype-machine.

  144. mouse, I think what Love did was despicable, and worthy of a significantly longer suspension than what he drew. What MWP did was also way, way, way over the line, and clearly suspension-worthy.

    The only thing mitigating in Love’s favor was the absence of prior transgressions. With MWP, you absolutely have to take into consideration his status as a repeat violator–just as the league will take it into consideration the next time Bynum (or, for that matter, Love) does it again.

    Neither Love’s nor Peace’s actions could in any way said to be a “normal” part of the game (notwithstanding mud’s simply absurd contention that basketball is a “violent” game…). These actions contrast significantly from an especially hard (and intentional) foul on a shooter, which is merely a question of degree. There is not and could never be an acceptably lesser degree of what Love or MWP did.

    In this day and age, with every sport (including the NBA) paying particular attention to head injuries, you simply cannot allow intentional shots to the head to be weakly punished. People may claim that MWP did not intend to strike Harden in the head (although that requires an act of mind-reading that nobody here is qualified for), but that doesn’t change the fact that he cocked his elbow and threw it up and back. It only could have landed at or near a player’s head.

    Look, I like Ron, and have been thrilled with how he’s turned himself around and recently reestablished himself as a top flight SF. But facts are facts. He purposely swung his elbow at an opponent, landed a shot to the side of the head, and knocked the third best player on a team fighting for the #1 seed out of the game with a concussion.

    To write this off as “part of the game” is to ignore the fact that it simply hasn’t happened like this before. Guys with head injuries can miss a significant amount of time, and be only half the guy they were when they initially come back (just ask the Vancouver hockey club if losing a star player for a first round matchup makes a difference).

  145. Re: The Love incident relative to the Peace incident.

    I think they were both despicable, but one does not excuse the other and, in the NBA and in life in general, the more prior history you have of doing something that is unacceptable the stiffer the punishment you receive is.

    Does anyone here really think that Love would have gotten off as lightly as he did if he had Peace’s history?

    Both incidents were awful…but for one person it’s his first major offense and for another he’s done this sort of thing an awful lot of times over the course of his career.

    I love Peace. Hell, I still have that zany press conference he gave after the finals bookmarked for when I have bad days at work. He’ll always be a Laker to me given how big he came up in the playoffs that year.

    But even people you love make mistakes and need to be held accountable. I would say ESPECIALLY the people you love, because otherwise they don’t get better. Peace is closing in on the end of his basketball career. Before his resurgence in April, he looked like a likely future amnesty figure. Within a handful of years at most, he’s going to be a private citizen and most people commenting on this blog won’t care that much anymore since if he gets in trouble it won’t hurt the Lakers.

    I consider that a wrong way of thinking. I care very much about Peace making a successful transition to mental health and being a good person for the forty or so years he has left in his life. I don’t want him to be Dennis Rodman or some other past NBA great turned ****-up someday.

    The way you ensure that doesn’t happen is that you hold him accountable when he does something wrong.

    What he did to Harden was wrong. Pure and simple. Intent matters of course, but it isn’t the only thing. People who drive drunk, for instance, don’t INTEND to get into accidents and hurt people but it doesn’t excuse them if they do.

    I’m angry with Peace because we needed him in the playoffs and he did a really dumb thing that is going to hurt us, but I’m also angry because I want the best for him and I am sad to see him backsliding on all the great progress he has made.

  146. Well… Doesn’t it seem like we are making too much out of a little elbow? No bones were broken. No blood was drawn. There was a concussion – and that’s unfortunate, but it appears that the concussion was mild (assuming that the “day to day” listing is accurate – as opposed to “indefinitely”) – and the extent of the injury is an important factor to consider here. This is markedly different than fouling a guy when he is mid-air trying to dunk (Bynum to Barea), which is dangerous because of the career-ending injuries that can result from that. Meta’s elbow is more similar to Love stepping on a Scola’s face (careless disregard, half hearted attempt not to connect, could result in a broken nose/jaw or other non-career ending injury).

    In short, anything more than a Flagrant 2 and two games will be BS and should be appealed by the Player’s Union.

  147. Funky Chicken – Thanks for the response – I agree with everything you said in 150.
    My own take is that MWP should be suspended for 2 games more than whatever Harden ends up missing. It doesn’t seem fair to have Artest back on the court before Harden gets there.
    Here’s hoping we get both back before Round 2 (assuming, of course, that we get there!).

  148. We do not have the Stern decision with regard to MWP as of yet, so why speculate and compare that to Love or any other incident. We do have the Bynum sentence from last year (5 games), and so a definite comparison can be made between that and other incidents. I think it is clear that when compared to Love or others, Bynum received a tougher sentence. Expect an even tougher one for MWP as well. The reason: Evil Empire (the VETO, many teams don’t want to trade with us, and now we will be zapped with a mega suspension). It is part of the price we pay to have 31 Finals trips, 16 banners, and the right to wear the purple and gold (or blue and gold as some web sites claim).

  149. Jim C., perfectly said.

    Mouse, I think we’re in lock step on this.

    Anonymous, you apparently missed the larger, non-hockey point (and you might want to suggest your fat uncle to the Canucks, because they weren’t doing too much scoring).

  150. OT, Barnes out for this Thursday’s game….more burn for Ebanks and perhaps GLock.

  151. In case people are not aware, the new CBA has stricter provsions on this–all of it has to be reviewed by a “neutral” party now. In the old CBA, anything under 12 games was up to Stern.

    As to the issue of how long it should be…depends on whether there is SPECIFIC lnaguage in the CBA that applies to:

    a) Blows to the head and neck
    b) Guys with track record/past issues etc.

    If so, then longer might be justified. If not–if it is just media-driven “send a message” BS–then it should be no longer than what Bynum got.

  152. @Funky Chicken
    Thanks. I really appreciated your comment up above about double standards as well.

    Also – Barnes out for Thursday and Ebanks dinged up after dropping a weight on his hand during a workout. May see some time for Kobe at Small Forward in addition to GLock at SG.

  153. any hope this delay from Stern means no suspension …(Half-Joking)

  154. I hope the Hawks handle the Clips tonight – then we can rest everyone for the Sacto game:
    Murphy, McBob, Eyenga, GLock and Morris should all be playing 40+ minutes against the Kings!!!

    I mean, how else will we know who to keep on/off the playoff roster!!

  155. Robert – What happen to the optimism my man!

  156. 161. Quite a send of to Sacremento lol

  157. James@163 – nothing less than the poo-poo platter for Cowbell country :)

  158. mud: you don’t swing that way unless you mean to do damage. but I get it getting hit with a elbow in the head isn’t a big deal to you it is to me. Shoving harden out of his lane and stopping him from scoring would have been a better alternative.

    mouse: They were both egregious. Ron’s a repeat offender and it didn’t look good live and still doesn’t on replay. I’d be fine with the 2 more games than Harden but I see him being made example of the way he was in Indiana. Fair or unfair.

  159. rr: It appears as though that new appeal process only applies to the financial ramifications of the penalty. The length of the suspension in games, any VETO’s, and any other sanctions that Stern imposes against the Evil Empire, Are Final.

  160. seven games, could have been worse

  161. 7 games is ridiculous.

  162. I dont know if i wish the lakers to take the 1st round to 6 games or try to sweep since we need world Peace in the 2nd round against the Thunder…

  163. Kevin, too much rhetoric!

    he swung the way a human being does when someone is on their back and the human wants that someone off NOW. it’s quite clear that he never saw Harden, just like it’s clear that Harden never saw the elbow coming.

    shoving Harden in the Lane might have been a much more dangerous move, someone can always get hurt. worse, it would have been more premeditated.

    all these people clucking their tongues need to check how much their own stink smells. MWP elbowed a guy, that’s not allowed and he needs to be suspended a couple of games. that’s always been enough, and it’s enough now. this elbow wasn’t that unique except that it was in the open, it was obvious and it connected.

    look, this game is played by adults. it’s dangerous and there’s no changing that. people WILL get hurt, that’s why there are rules. there’s no need to take it any further.

  164. MannyP: You have received my answer for optimism from the NBA : ) We are the Evil Empire. Wear the name with pride. Us against the World !!!

  165. time to toy with dallas / denver and let the series go 7!!!

  166. umm guys, i dont think it will require us to toy with Dallas/Denver for the series to go 6 games. We’re not that good!

  167. 7 games is not too bad. Now we can move on from speculation. the okc series will be crazy. nba wants those ratings probably why it wasn’t longer.

  168. Seven games is a GIFT given MWP’s history and what most of the talking heads were speculating.

    I’m thrilled that he’s getting off that lightly.

  169. seven games is extreme, but it’s done now. time to get on with the playoffs.

  170. Wow. What an extreme case of racism?  Un real.  Seven games when Kevin Love gets two regular season games for STOMPING ON A GUYS FACE? Interesting. So five more games for Ron’s history? Is that what a history is worth? Over twice the punishment?

  171. I am also happy with 7 games: 1 game is SAC and the first round will go 5-6 (I know I am being optimistic). In any case, maybe MWP only misses one game in round 2 !!! Where do I sign? Oh yea – I don’t need to – Stern’s decision is unliateral, r, and most of all Final !

  172. Wow, I was certain it was going to be longer than 7. This makes for a pretty intense 2nd round matchup… I like it!

  173. Darius,
    You know what… I’m making you edit this Facebook post I just put up. You will have to edit it. There are sometimes when one needs to force the other persons hand. This is that time. You can edit this Aaron Facebook status update if you would like…

    “Wow. Artest is suspended for 7 games? What an overt case of racism. Un real.  Seven games when Kevin Love gets two regular season games for STOMPING ON A GUYS FACE? Interesting. So five more games for Ron’s history? Is that what a history is worth? Over twice the punishment? It’s nice to be white. Really nice.  I would rather have someone crack me with an elbow to the head as I’m stepping in front of them to take an offensive foul than lay on the hardwood floor and have a guy STOMP ON MY FACE!!!  I love being white. It’s really underrated.”

  174. 7 games is probably excessive, but it’s not a death sentence to the Lakers’ playoff hopes. Metta will come back focused for Round 2 and this event will give the Lakers an edge in the possible match-up against OKC. I wonder how much Harden is going to mess with Metta and the Lakers then, a couple of weeks after recovering from his concussion?

    At this point, let’s just see how the bottom of the bracket shakes out and enjoy what the Lakers have at this point – a cohesive team with a legit shot to go deep in the playoffs if they can keep it together, with (most likely) pretty good seeding. We were going to have to play OKC inevitably (I have doubts that the Clips or Memphis would take them out in 7 games), at least we can get them out of the way when the team is at a slightly higher energy level. I see the Spurs being more likely to squander their high position again, with a loss to either Memphis or even the Clippers (although the former isn’t playing quite as well recently).

    Out east, all of the contenders have exploitable flaws and/or present us with favorable match-ups. Anything can happen this year!

  175. @Aaron
    Yes. That’s what a LONG HISTORY of unacceptable behavior gets you and it isn’t racism.

    MWP has gotten into trouble time and time again over his career.

    Why is it so few fans here on this blog understand the concept of a single incident being entirely different from getting into trouble over and over again?

  176. Aaron, enough with this BS talk of racism already.

    If the Lakers get out of the first round, they aren’t likely to do so in four games, so this suspension simply puts MWP out of action until early in the 2nd round. That is neither ideal nor insurmountable.

  177. Aaron, your notion that this is about skin color and not about an objectively appalling action compounded by MWP/RA’s long history of infractions is even nuttier than your idea that Mike Brown was ‘hiding’ Goudelock and then Jordan Hill. I’ve worn an Artest jersey to the 25 or so games I’ve attended this year and I find the suspension to be considerably more lenient than I anticipated. That jersey’s going in the closet for a while– am I a racist too?

  178. >>>I wonder how much Harden is going to mess with Metta and the Lakers then, a couple of weeks after recovering from his concussion?

    maybe get another shove…… Okay i will stay in the corner.

  179. 7 games, well, that’s two more than I thought reasonable, 3 less than what I thought was possible. Also makes me think that the decision was far more political than it should have been.

    So now depending on who we draw in the first round, i think it may actually benefit us to stretch the series until 6 so we can have Ron back in the 2nd round.

    Thoughts?

  180. Aaron, now you’re just trolling.

  181. I don’t make claimes out of nowhere. There IS ABSOLUTLEY NO PRECIDENCE for this. ABSOLUTLEY none. I am someone who historically thinks there is more racism than most people see. This is one of those times I see it. It’s not just racism. It’s superficiality. That’s half of it. Artest is a scary person. He is giant and fearless. Kevin Love has a real last name of “Love” that he was born with. He shoots three pointers on the outside and has a grandpa beard. He was a flabby guy coming into the NBA. It has just as much to do with that than just racism.

  182. Aaron please correct that in your case to white and stupid.

  183. Jo,
    No offense but it doesn’t seem you know much about the law. Am I right? You definatley know about rule of law in third grade. I like you “you’re stupid” comeback. That was clever. I know you’re but what am I? There is no PRECEDENCE for having your crime be more than 50 percent of your punishment based off of history!!!!!!!!
    Only in cases where there are set up levels of punishment like the “three strikes” laws. You understand that right? What am I saying… Probably not.

  184. Funny how people who learn their version of Law by watching episodes of Law and Order and then ask another who graduated from Law School and passed the bar if they know much about tbe law.

    Perhaps you should ask Rudy T and Kermit Washington about punishment for a deliberate blow to the head?

    Ron could have killed someone with that shot to the head. I assume if he was charged with murder you would argue “he didn’t mean to”. The intent was to hit Harden in the head with a elbow from a 260 pound man. No different then Kermit Wahington’s intent to punch Rudy with his fist.

    Grow up. 90% of the media and basketball experts(who get paid) say Ron was lucky. I trust the people who played the game or get paid to discuss the game far more then the guy who thinks the Spurs will lose in the first round.

    Between Andrew knocking a 5’9 guy out of the air and Ron slamming a guy in the face, the Laker brand is becoming the brand of bad sportsmanship. Not something to be proud of!