Ron Artest Wanted Kobe Suspended
Posted May 08, 2009 2:57PM By BRETT POLLAKOFF (RSS FEED)
The Lakers will head into Game 3 against the Rockets without the services of Derek Fisher, who was suspended for running through a screen set by throwing a forearm at Luis Scola. But Kobe Bryant will be in uniform, even though the elbow he threw was certainly deliberate, and was also enough to send Ron Artest running halfway across the court to let him know it wasn't appreciated.
Artest, as you might imagine, believes the league got it wrong, and was surprised at Stu Jackson's ruling that Bryant's play was only upgraded to a flagrant foul, penalty one. Artest believes it should have resulted in a suspension.
"I thought above the shoulders was a game (suspension), but I guess you can throw elbows above the shoulders," Artest said. "I think Stu (Jackson, the NBA vice president) needs to re-look at that. When you look at that elbow, if that was me throwing that elbow at Kobe, first of all I would have hurt Kobe way more than he hurt me. I probably would have knocked him out with the same force he used on me. Second, it's dangerous.
"That shows me, if Kobe hits me with an elbow, I can just get hit. That just goes to show what type of person Stu Jackson is. I got suspended for a lighter elbow in San Antonio (in the 2006 first round). Maybe David Stern needs to talk to Stu Jackson. It's not fair. He just got a flagrant-1?"
Yes, Ron, he just got a flagrant one. And it was the correct call.
As Matt Watson and I discussed on the RoundCast at the time, Kobe's play -- while excessive -- was not intended to injure Artest. It was meant to clear space, after Artest was leaning on Kobe's neck to prevent him from getting position just seconds before the elbow came flying. It certainly was a play that should have been called a flagrant foul at the time, but it wasn't one that warranted a suspension.
This series is shaping up to be the most physical of the (still young) postseason. There will undoubtedly be more hard fouls, technicals, and controversial plays in the games that follow. Artest might not be correct in this particular instance in calling for a Kobe Bryant suspension. But his comments can't hurt, and might simply be a way of preemptively lobbying the league to rule on his side the next time something like this goes down.