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Chippy Days Are Here Again

What are you going to do about it? (AP Photo)

With Rafer Alston smacking Eddie House upside the head like he stole something, Derek Fisher clocking Luis Scola as if he was training for the Ultimate Fighting Octagon and Ron Artest getting all in Kobe Bryant's grill after Bryant appeared to elbow him in the throat, the second round of the NBA playoffs officially entered the chippy stage.

Skip To My Lou will surely get bounced at least one game for his Larry-Moe-and-Curly-approved, open-handed slap to the back of House's head in Boston's 112-94 win in Game 2 at TD Banknorth Garden. House had just dropped another three-pointer in Alton's face when he bumped into Alston while running back on defense. Alston claimed that House elbowed him in the belly, but House's contact appeared to be an incidental, get-off-me, separation move. Alston straight popped House in the back of the dome.

Dwight Howard is the only player to get suspended this postseason when he threw an elbow at Samuel Dalembert's head, but Alston is about to join him -- even though NBA Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Stu Jackson has been pretty lenient on some other physical encounters in the playoffs. Boston's Rajon Rondo didn't face any penalty for popping Chicago's Brad Miller in the mouth, later flinging Kirk Hinrich into the scorer's table and then raising his arms at him.

Since Rondo got two passes, the league failed to add any extra punishment to Udonis Haslem for his flagrant two penalty foul when he grabbed Hawks center Zaza Pachulia around the shoulders and Kenyon Martin merely got a $25,000 fine for body-checking Dirk Nowitzki about 10 feet into the baseline. It seemed like open season on extracurricular hacking.

Jackson was at Staples Center to witness Fisher's blow to Scola in the third quarter of the Lakers' 111-98 win. Fisher was ejected for flooring Scola with a Shawne Merriman-approved hit when Scola was coming up to set a screen. The league will surely review that play for further penalty.

Fisher didn't hide his intent to harm Scola -- he turned and spotted Scola, lowered his shoulder and leaned in -- and actually felt the brunt of the collision as Scola split open the back of his head. It also came a few seconds after Scola started jawing with Luke Walton and Lamar Odom.

The sparks picked up some more in the fourth quarter when Bryant and Artest got tangled under the basket. Bryant threw an elbow that appeared to hit Artest in the throat, but the oddest part of the whole sequence was that Artest actually got called for a personal foul. Artest tried to explain to official Bill Spooner what happened, but when he got ignored, Artest ran down Bryant, leaned into his face and screamed at him.

C'mon, Joey. At least let me hit somebody before you toss me. ((Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Using some rather colorful language, Artest basically told Bryant that he didn't appreciate it. Artest got ejected when official Joey Crawford misinterpreted his animated explanation of getting hit in the throat for a throat-slashing gesture. Bryant went on to finish with a hard-earned 40 points.

An elbow above the shoulders is an automatic suspension -- and ask Marko Jaric, Mike Miller and Manu Ginobili about Bryant's flailing elbows -- but it's hard to tell from the replays if Bryant hit him in the chest or higher.

Fisher's play included a borderline flop, but the hit was pretty blatant, so I wouldn't be surprised if Jackson gives him the night off on Friday. Alston, though, should definitely take a seat for Game 3. You really can't go around slapping cats in the head. This is not the street corner.

House showed a lot of restraint to not retaliate, but he had a pretty funny, R-rated response about how Alston had a "bush-league" reaction to him "busting" Orlando's tail to the tune of a career-high 31 points off the bench. TNT might want to consider a five-second delay for post-game interviews next time -- but the in-game action certainly has intensified and both series are tied 1-1....

By Michael Lee  |  May 7, 2009; 9:15 AM ET
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Fisher is gonna be offered up as the sacrificial lamb so that Kobe can escape suspension.

The idea of Stern allowing Kobe to get suspended is about as ridiculous as Stern admitting there is a refereeing problem in the NBA...

Posted by: p1funk | May 7, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

The guy in the green t-shirt needs a mansierre. Haha.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | May 7, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

P funk is on the money. the prob is this isn't the first time kobe's gotten a lil loose with the elbows. i think he injured a player a season or two ago, throwing a bow after he got the ball stripped from him. He tries to play the role like ron was attacking him and that's all good, but it's also why kobe will never be mike. Mike would rather choke a nba superstar on the scorers table than hold his palms in the air and have a ref separate them like kobe did last night.

Kobe is a great ball player, but an overall ho-cake.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | May 7, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

p1funk could not have said it better.

Posted by: Fontana1 | May 7, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

If the roles had been reversed and Artest had done to Kobe what Kobe did to him, the ref's would have booted Artest from the game. Kobe is a trip though, he has always gotten away with crap like throwing his elbows and stuff. That was a punk-A move if you ask me. Hopefully, he will get served in the next game.

Posted by: ivyleague | May 7, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

ROFL@Rafer Alstoon smacking Eddie house in the head! ahahaha! The slow mo was even better! I can't stand that dude...he had it coming....he's too hype on the court and only plays a he's on Prozac or something

Posted by: cbmuzik | May 7, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

The NBA is protecting their biggest TV Markets LA and Boston. Rondo got away twice while Rafer will get suspended and superelbow Kobe Bryant got a Jordanesque call. I love Kobe but I hate elbows more. Big profits in letting Big City Markets win win win. Small City Orlando gets Howard tossed no big deal because Orlando fans are few...NBA wanted viewers in Philly to get another game full of commercials... NBA is business chock full of favoritism.

Posted by: jercha | May 7, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

ROFL@Rafer Alstoon smacking Eddie house in the head! ahahaha!

Posted by: cbmuzik | May 7, 2009 10:48 AM

Skip had an "And-1" flashback...he thought he was street-balling again...

Posted by: p1funk | May 7, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Of course there is an angle to consider that involves Stern hoping to milk the Chinese market as much as he can.

Yao brings millions of fresh viewers from China.

Maybe Kobe does get suspended in the hopes that the series goes a long tough 7 games??

Posted by: p1funk | May 7, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

For all intents and purposes, Kobe did the exact same thing that got Dwight Howard suspended for game 6 of the Orlando/Sixers series. If the NBA doesn't suspend Kobe, then Stern loses what little credibility he still has (and that's not much, given some of the crap he's let guys get away with in these playoffs).

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 7, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse


Brendan Haywood is scheduled to chat today at 2pm et, on

Posted by: G-Man11 | May 7, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I never had any respect for Ron Artest anyway, ever since he was embroiled in that melee back several years ago when he was with the Pacers and they played in Detroit. He went into the stands to attack and assault a fan, but wouldn’t fight Ben Wallace, a man who was the same size as him, after Wallace had pushed him all over the court. I thought he was the quintessential punk.

Posted by: lwilliamson1 | May 7, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

The guy in the green t-shirt needs a mansierre. Haha.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | May 7, 2009 9:47 AM

ROFL i was just about to write that

Posted by: prescrunk | May 7, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Lebron didn't get suspended last year for elbowing Dray Blatche in the head even though he did get a flagrant two assessed after the game (somehow avoiding any penalty in the game itself). Kobe will fall into the same category as Lebron.

Posted by: jonathan30033 | May 7, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

The league will be tough on these incidents because they will want to send the message that no one is to touch Lebron as he goes to the hoop in the Finals.

It's tough even for the NBA front office to see their star whine on national tv after a little contact.

Posted by: Izman | May 7, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

NBA Smackdown. I love it. Finally a playoff season when all the games have high action drama. The league has a slogan "The NBA Cares". Well this is the first time in a long time that caring has trickled down to the players. Of course Stu Jackson and David Stern are going to pay lip service to the fact that they don't want all the fighting. But the fighting means there is passion. All these teams really want it and they are trying to get it my any means necessary. This is an epic playoff season.

Posted by: Carole5520 | May 7, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

No way Kobe gets suspended and it's not bc he's a superstar. The reason he's not going to get suspended is bc if Artest doesn't react the way he does, no one even notices the elbow. If ne thing the league would have reviewed and assessed a flagrant 1 after the fact.

Dwight was suspended bc he's elbow was thrown after the play, Kobe's was thrown in the course of play...Big Difference.

Posted by: jansjay | May 7, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

"Dwight was suspended bc he's elbow was thrown after the play, Kobe's was thrown in the course of play...Big Difference."

No difference at all. The rule states that "a player must be ejected for an elbow foul which makes contact above shoulder level." It doesn't say anything about before, during, or after the play.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 7, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Kobe's elbow was well placed, intentional and un-called for. Artest's ejection directly effected the outcome of the game.

I believe the referees are intent on watching Yao Ming so they can call ticky-tack fouls on him. Yao on the bench will guarantee an LA second round victory.

I like Kobe and the Lakers a lot but feel that a victory like the one they acheived last night is tainted.

It is hard for a team to win when you have to defeat an additional three referees.

Posted by: jimarush | May 7, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

not much difference, elbows aren't legal ever but there is not a snowball's chance in hell kobe misses a game, the comment about lebron's elbowing andray is a perfect example, it's not like they can refute the video but they can pretend all they want about the intent, the nba has zero credibility when it comes to refereeing the game on an even playing field for scrubs and kobe alike

Posted by: bford1kb | May 7, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

@kalo_rama ok well if that's the rule and the NBA leaves no intention then they should stick to it in all cases. They don't, see the LBJ elbow on AB last year. Whether they admit to it or not, they do consider intent.

@jimrush, come on pal you know the Lakers were going to win that game regardless of Artest being in the contest or not. He was starting to make bad plays anyway. Kobe was determined. Houston was losing.

Oh btw...enough with the referee excuse. Who's shot more FTs in the series so far? Exactly!

Posted by: jansjay | May 7, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

BasketBrawl '09. If D.Songaila got suspended they all should at least a game. What about Kobe's response to Lebron's MVP !

Posted by: jeremydvid | May 7, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I love the smacking upside the head of Eddie House -- that guy is a jacka$$. Orlando would have been better off if the person actually smacking House was a non-starter. Bone headed move by Alston but I like that someone smacked him. Someone needs to remind House that he is not as good as his antics suggest (or maybe remind him that professionals act like they have "been there before").

He's a punk, much like Damon Jones -- all talk and too little action, for the most part.

Posted by: Chad32 | May 7, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I think the NBA mess it all up when they did not suspend nor eject Rondo. Now there is no consistancy to go by and it becomes obvious that if you are not the big market team that the NBA wants to showcase your players are more likely to get suspended than if you are Boston, LA or in the past San Antonio. Had Artest did that to Kobe (and I like LA) he would have been suspended 2 games just to make sure the lakers get a lead in the series because the NBA wants it to be either lakers vs celts or kobe vs lebron. Those are the ratings grabbers. They do not want to see an Orlando vs houston or cleveland vs denver finals. No one will watch that except home town fans.

Posted by: ged0386 | May 7, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Rafer is use to being the guy that shows up people ala skip to my lou. He has his NY rep to protect so if he gets shown up in the spotlight he goes negative. What is it about NY ball players that make them think they have to play tough guys to save face because of their egos? Remember Chris Childs sucker punching Kobe? Rafer needs to man up and admit he was mad because eddie house was busin his assss like house said. In prime time. Instead he lies and says house elbowed him. I dont really like house but he was right when he stated Rafer's behavior was bush league. Something you would do on the And One series.

Posted by: ged0386 | May 7, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

every year its same thing with suspensions in the playoff, i dont care if there is a brawl, let these guys play, we deserve to see an epic battle between two teams without it being handicapped by the league for big market teams.. I'm a huge Kobe fan and even i think its kind of ridiuclous if artest gets suspened.

Posted by: mehtadman87 | May 7, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse


Dont insult Eddie House by putting him into the same catagory as Damon Jones. At least house can hit big shots against someone besides the wizards. And to say that he deserves to get smacked in the head because you dont like him as a player is a bit inmature on your part. This is the NBA not the NHL. If thats the case Rondo should get knocked out on the court. By your standards he has earned it.

Posted by: ged0386 | May 7, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Rafer has a violent temper anyway. Just check his history. He has serveral asult charges, a couple of them involving women. It does not take much to get this guy to swing a punch at you anyways.

Posted by: ged0386 | May 7, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

"Remember Chris Childs sucker punching Kobe?"
Posted by: ged0386 | May 7, 2009 2:32 PM

Nah, I remember Kobe getting his chin checked by a guy six inches smaller than him while they were standing face to face. Kobe's always been a sneaky player. MJ made no bones about the "jordan rules" but kobe tries to be sneaky like people can't see the preferential treatment (game 2 v.houston).
By the way, was Ron Artest ejected b/c he was "explaining" to Kobe that he needed to control the wild elbow or someone might get injured ?Did they he refs throw him out because he was doing their job too well?

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | May 7, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Kobe should be susp for a game. And if I am Phil, I want Kobe to sit out a one game suspension...psyc a good move. If not look for WWF before it is all over.

Posted by: oddjob2 | May 7, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Kobe Bryant has been getting away with flagrant elbows for years. He elbowed Mike Bibby (of the Sacramento Kings at the time) in the face during the final seconds of Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals in 2002. That play, which was neither inadvertent nor incidental, and which bloodied Bibby's nose, occurred directly in front of an official who made no call. Bryant has connected on numerous elbows to Raja Bell (formerly of the Phoenix Suns), who defends against him better than nearly anyone else in the NBA. Of course, the officials always seem to be looking the other way, which finally prompted Bell to blatantly clothesline Bryant a couple years ago. (Strange how the officials were able to pick right up on the clothesline.)

The NBA league office has no credibility whatsoever. There is never going to be discovered any secret tape of David Stern telling the refs to make either calls or non-calls in favor of the big-market teams or the marquee players. The refs know fully what time it is.

Rajon Rondo's behavior is that of a punk. He should've been suspended for the hit on Brad Miller, and for the pull that left Kirk Hinrich on the scorer's table. Of the hit on Brad Miller, Stu Jackson apparently said he looked at the foul "three or four times" and did not judge it as particularly flagrant because Rondo did not "follow through" when he hit Miller. (How much further is it possible to follow through when the victim of the hit ends up with a bloody mouth that requires seven or eight stitches?) The play with Hinrich was simply not a basketball play. That should've been an automatic ejection.

Now, the league looks idiotic (as always during the playoffs) to try to come in and lay down the law. It has been obvious for decades, it is in the league's best fiscal interest to see the big market teams make it to the Finals. The house money is on Cavs - Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, and on Lakers - Cavs or Lakers - Celtics in the NBA Finals.

But, when it all comes down, outscore the other team (including their refs, and the NBA league office), and you win.

Posted by: rmagritte | May 7, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

For more Soccer&NBA, please visit:

Posted by: nowgoal | May 8, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

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