Houston We Have a Problem: Los Angeles Lakers Propel to Defy Logic

This is a classic article of 2009: Note to editor: Please edit carefully

It drew our awareness in Game 2 of the 2009 NBA playoffs when irritable mood swings flared into a physical skirmish between the Lakers and Rockets. It was like a wrestling match and things turned warlike with massive forearms thrown, hard fouls, trash talk and a short tempered Ron Artest getting in the face of Kobe Bryant. It drew our interest as it seemed this was actuality a series the Lakers in likelihood could lose. For awhile, Houston was more physical, more anxious, more driven and more perilous. It led to assertive talk on if the Lakers weren’t as good as the paper shows, which reinforced chatter about the Rockets, who had the urge and dirtiness in Game 1 and Game 2, though they couldn’t pull away with a double steal on the Lakers on floor in the second game of the tense series.

No member of the Lakers was intimidated nor was insulted by the Rockets contempt. Maybe in part to a message sent in Game 2 when Derek Fisher lost self-control, throwing his forearm at the Lakers-agitator Luis Scola, who was sent to the ground. Maybe the Lakers were vulnerable in the series-opener to grasp a feel of Houston, or it could have just been a poor night. Whatever it was they played like the intimidating ones in the series Friday night, making things vulnerable for players like Artest. As it seems there’s not a game progress, without foolish or sinful physical contact committed by a troubling Artest, who lobbied Bryant should have been suspended for Game 3, after throwing an intentional elbow at him which tempered and provoked him to meet Bryant for a facial stare down at half court.

It resulted in a minor punishment, a flagrant foul, and penalty one when many agreed it should have resulted in a suspension. Immediately following the in-your-face encounter, Artest was tossed from the game, a pattern that has followed him in the series when he was eje...

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