Are the Lakers a Dirty Team?

A bit of ire has been directed at the Los Angeles Lakers as of late with some accusations about their arguably dirty style of play.

Metta World Peace had a foul retroactively upgraded to a flagrant-2, giving him the league lead in flagrant foul "points" with five. It's fine that he's leading the league, the only problem is that he shares the lead with Dwight Howard.

World Peace has picked up a single flagrant-1 and two flagrant-2 fouls, while Howard is up to three flagrant-1 fouls and one flagrant-2.

On top of that, they also boast the league-leader in technical fouls, as Kobe Bryant is two ahead of the next closest player with 13 technicals so far this season.

All three must be careful, as any player with five flagrant points will be up for suspension if he gets another, and any player who passes the 15-technical threshold will be suspended as well, with an additional suspension for every second technical following.

With the Lakers in dire need of every win possible, losing a player to a silly overreaction leading to a technical or a flagrant foul could mean the difference between the playoffs and starting the summer a wee bit early.

So with Los Angeles racking up so many slaps on the wrist over the past few months, is it safe to say that they're a dirty team, or is there something beyond that must be taken into account?

World Peace does his best to make a bit of an excuse for what's led to his on-court troubles as far as fouling goes this season:

As I get older, I'm learning how to just play hard. It's not like I brought this aggression to the league. I didn't invent this. This is what we watched, this is what we saw. The Bill Laimbeers and the [Dennis] Rodmans, they play hard and they wasn't trying to hurt anybody. They played hard. They played with passion.

We grew up wanting to play with passion. So, when the guys say we're dirty, we're just pla...

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