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Smack / Mar 12, 2009 / 2:19 am

Kobe vs. Artest boils over

Kobe Bryant

Going into the second half of Rockets/Lakers, with Houston up double-digits, their play-by-play man called it early: “We’re going to get a lot of Kobe now.” Clyde Drexler gave his usual giggle of approval; no doubt he can recognize that crunch-time assassin’s look from 94 feet away. After a quiet start, Kobe cranked up the aggressiveness after the break, and when his physical head-to-head battle with Ron Artest finally boiled over midway through the fourth quarter — Kobe throwing an elbow away from the ball and both guys needing to be separated — he went into Takeover mode. Over the final 4:13 of the fourth quarter he scored 18 points on reverse layups, and-ones, pull-up J’s, threes and dagger free throws, finishing with 37 as the Lakers snapped the Rockets’ 12-game home winning streak … Holding a two-point lead after a Donaghy-esque foul call against Artest (more on that later), Kobe proceeded to ice it with a layup over Yao, a jumper over Artest, and then after Shane Battier switched over to guard him on a critical possession, baited him into a three-point play. When the Lakers were parading to the free throw line in the final seconds, Kobe and Artest were still talking sh*t to each other non-stop, Kobe’s swagger on about 1,500 while Ron had that Crazy-Person/Masochist Smile going, promising he’d see him later … Not to take anything away from Kobe’s performance, but the call that helped put L.A. ahead for good was crap. Tied up at the 2-minute mark, Kobe was being guarded by Artest (11 pts, 0-8 3PA, 6 stls, 6 turnovers) when Pau Gasol came over to set a pick. In the process of fighting through it, Artest used some dirty/cagey tactics, and Gasol responded in kind. Artest was whistled for a foul when no call should have been made on either side, and since that was Houston’s fifth of the quarter, Gasol went to the line for the go-ahead free throws … Yao (16 pts, 6 rebs) also deserves some blame. He was generally invisible during the game’s most important stretches, but really hurt the Rockets on two possessions late in the fourth; first when he failed to seal off Gasol and allowed him to intercept an entry pass, then on the next trip Yao missed a hook from point-blank range … The Rockets were in good shape following a 14-0 run in the second quarter, outplaying L.A. in every facet, led by Artest and a crew of role players: Landry, Scola, Wafer and Lowry. Kobe was on the bench for most of it, and although Phil wanted to get him in earlier, there was never a dead-ball. Instead of calling timeout, Jordan Farmar finally stopped the clock when he body-checked Lowry out of nowhere, probably after he looked over to the scorer’s table and saw Kobe with steam coming out of his ears … During that first-half run, Wafer tried to end DJ Mbenga‘s career with a potentially vicious cram, but DJ blocked it. “That’s what he does,” Drexler said. Nah, usually DJ gets yakked on … Josh Smith
(Speaking of career-ending dunks, did you see what LaMarcus Aldridge did to Erick Dampier? Just gross.) … The Jazz had their win streak snapped at 12 in Atlanta. And just like when ATL stopped the Hornets’ six-game streak the other night, the Hawks did it with defense. Over the last five minutes of the game Utah couldn’t buy a bucket; aside from some Ronnie Brewer free throws, they went 0-for-9 from the field with at least 3-4 turnovers, and the Hawks turned those long misses and mistakes into transition buckets … Earlier in the fourth, Josh Smith (22 pts, 12 rebs, 3 blks) came through the lane about to make somebody into a poster, and Kyle Korver was the only brave one standing there ready to take a charge. Smith got the dunk, and even graciously moved over a little mid-air so Kyle didn’t take the full junk-in-face … After Antonio McDyess knocked down a jumper to put the Pistons up three over the Knicks with 23 seconds left, Detroit announcer George Blaha declared, “Antonio McDyess now OFFICIALLY owns the night!” Too soon. With Detroit still holding that three-point lead with 10 seconds left, Larry Hughes shook himself free from Rip Hamilton and got up a three — and Rip fouled him in the process. Hughes went to the line and sent the game to overtime, where he, Q-Rich and Nate Robinson (30 pts) got New York the win … Despite the loss, McDyess was an animal. He grabbed 22 boards and scored 14 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, the most unlikely 20-20 of the season. Between McDyess’ stat line and Larry Hughes dropping buckets (22 pts), it was like a re-run from 2001 … Other big stat lines from Wednesday: Chris Paul posted 30 points, 10 rebounds, 13 assists and four steals in a win at Washington; Dwyane Wade dropped 32 on the short-handed Celtics in a win; Devin Harris had 31 points, seven boards, 12 dimes and three steals in a loss at Golden State; Dirk Nowitzki had 29 and 10 boards in a win at Portland; Thaddeus Young scored 29 against the Raptors in a win; and Marcin Gortat (seriously) had 13 points and 15 boards as Orlando almost 30-pieced the Bulls. Derrick Rose and Ben Gordon went a combined 2-for-22 in the loss … Unedited update from Shaq‘s Twitter feed yesterday: “A Rastaman walks n2 a bank & hands the teller a bag of weed. She says ‘Sir, what is this 4?’ Da Rasta said, ‘Mi wan open a joint account!'” … That may have been topped only by this Andrew Bogut Tweet: “Come check out my appearance at Salentine Buick Pontiac in Muskego. I’ll be there today from 4-6pm!!!” Three exclamation points, Andrew? Dude must be bored out of mind injured in Milwaukee … We’re out like joint accounts …

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  • Clip joint

    First! UNO! Not second.

  • J-Lod

    smack comes early…bryant vs artest.would love to see more of that..

  • rlf

    this, lol, is what happens when i read your take describing a lakers’ victory or how kobe plays. just so comical, thanks!

  • BRUCE

    I know this is NBA blog but Mike Singletary was on fire yesterday, Texas Tech guy dropped 29 STRAIGHT points.

    Damned!

  • http://myspace/jkwryter Gunner J. Matthews

    LMAO @ the rastaman at the bank

  • Pig

    I think that d-will said in december that nuggets will slump and they will have a 12 game streak

  • AB_40

    dammit boston

    and wow y’all saw what houston did to lebron? and what they can’t do to kobe. Ok mr Bryants team is better but not by a mile. He just knows IT

    the west is gonna be exciting as teams try to jockey for the final spots… the east not so much although a first round matchup between atlanta and miami would be fun to watch

  • Jerome James’ Gut

    Does Artest’s match up against Kobe and his recent match up against Lebron (where he was held to 0 assists) answer the question on everyone’s minds?

  • K Dizzle

    Ron Artest – DPOY

    Anybody else but maybe Lebron and Paul Pierce woulda folded like a lawn chair. Kobe, tho, is just Kobe…

    Mike Singletary – Get out now…Don’t get tested, don’t explain nuthin, just declare …

    Chris Paul had what? 30, 12, 10 and 4…Thank God for Byron Scott’s system makin him the player he is…lol…yeah, See how stupid that sounds. Dude ran a system at Wake, somehow lucked into bein the Rookie of the Year while leading ALL rookies in pts, assists, steals and minutes and now the “reason” DWill’s a better point is cuz he “runs a system”. How about they both solid and on any given day, they the best point in the world….Tony, you still 3rd

    I patiently await Ianny’s analysis on why Kobe destroyed team chemistry in the game vs Houston….

  • rafa23

    did you guys see westbrooks dunk on the birdman? WOW

  • http://iannyb9@hotmail.com Iannyb

    Dwade for mvp,dude is balling right now,break out the early cheers and confetti.

  • Shrink This

    Am I the only one who’d love to see Ron-Ron throw an elbow (or worse) back at Kobe?

  • dk

    Havent seen the Artest play during crunch yet. But I guess you forget the mans not allowed to look crooked at a ref, let alone onverly assert himself through a screen during a heated battle and this is for good reason.

  • that’s whats up

    I wish DIME could ‘sacrifice’ the first comment like they did a few ays ago.

    Lame shit. That’s obviously why you also are a Clippers fan – born to lose

  • jzsmoove

    Shrink this: I posted several days ago that one possible way to break down Kobe is if each team over the course of the regular season fouled him HARD everytime he went to the basket. Not a bad or dirty foul, just something for him to think twice driving again. A team can use a foul each from their rotation players (7-9 usually plays). On an 82-game season this will hopefully wear him out for the playoffs. I am not a Lakers/Kobe hater. I realize he is the BEST at what he does right NOW and arguably the MVP (this shouldnt be mixed up as the same thing). I’m just saying and putting it out there. Old school basketball. What do you all think DIME?

  • Shrink This

    jzsmoove:

    Sorry I missed your previous post. I agree. The Pistons (and I suspect some other teams at the time) used a similar strategy against Jordan and it worked (for a while).

    In today’s NBA I have a sneaking suspicion that this might be quashed pretty quickly though by the league (even though not technically illegal).

  • POPPI GEE

    Houston Up!

    It’s clear the Rockets are not on the Lakers level, but it was still a good battle that ensued. I have said before the last thing you want to do is motivate any of the great ones (Wade, LeBron, Shaq…ect)

    Ron was talking straight wreckless last night and well it’s amazing Kobe didn’t drop even more than that.

    Just hope in no way or shape Houston see L.A. for the first round ain’t no sense in lying. That might be a sweep.

    Wade is just all over tha place. It ain’t even fair that he don’t have the proper help.

    Atl. seems to mirror what they did last year and that is they will win every home game in the playoffs and that is it.

    I ain’t a NY fan, but I am hoping they can get that 8th seed in the playoffs. Nate is ballin.

    First facebook and now Twitter. I still ain’t got this Twitter thing down at all but that Shaq line was funny.

    Kobe told Ron “So you a stand-up comedian now” LOL. Kobe was amazed himself at how crazy Ron was talking.
    Deuces for the day!

  • POPPI GEE

    12 and 15 I agree.

  • E$

    “You not ready for me” – Ron Artest (He wasn’t talking Basketball)

  • Prof. TX

    Kobe gets away with playing dirty, but some good defenders can’t even get away with playing clean. Kobe’s been called out on the flailing arms and elbows how many times, once, maybe twice? Calls like this make it look like the Lakers will be hand-picked for the finals. Stern gets his ratings and marketing machine moving and doesn’t care if the rules get a little bent in the process.

    ‘Star treatment’ is one of the things hurting the league. The existing stars always look good because they get the extra whistles in their favor, and the newer stars have a hard time breaking into that group because they aren’t part of the favored in-crowd. Some of the good players might be ‘stars’ if they were allowed to foul and travel too, but they can’t because the refs don’t see them as special enough.

  • YOUNGFED…”Yeah im from 8 mile but nothing like the movie bro.”

    K-Hova for president. Kobe put on a murder show and Artest was the victim. But anyway if its was the playground Ron would’ve knocked him out.

  • alf (from melmak)

    how i wish utah would develop that killer instinct. the game was theirs to win. not taking anything away from atlanta for the tough defense in the fourth.

    this is not an endorsement, but you guys should read the bill simmons page 2 espn article on the clippers disaster against cleveland. i almost died laughing.

    my meal allowance says bill simmons is a genius. i am a big fan of the guy for the past four years. dime, any chance you can move him from espn to your corner?

  • fallinup

    I can’t wait to take a withdrawal from my joint account.

  • that’s whats up

    ^^^ I guess you have to wait until at least your lunch break

  • ToAn

    @alf

    yeah i read the simmons article and it’s hilarious. and it’s not the first article about the absolute incompetence of dunleavy sr. by simmons. the others are funny (sad for clippers fans) as well. i don’t get it though..he is coaching for 20 years or something like that and he can’t come with a play when the game is on the line, again and again..it’s absurd at times. and if i remember right he was the coach on the portland team that lost to the lakers in game 7 of the 2000 playoffs where they had a 15 point lead in the 4th quarter and blew it

  • Diego

    Hawks looking strong at home without Marvin Williams: In 3 successive games: (i) popped hot Detroit’s win streak; (ii) popped hot N.O.’s win streak; and (iii) last night nailed Utah’s streak. And all 3 opponents played well those games. (But, who knows, Hawks will probably overlook the Pacers and lose Friday.)

    It’s a bit of a cliche, but Hawks’ defense the last 2 game indeed has looked strong. And Woodson really has been working some different line-ups–with success. (Hope it doesn’t go to his head.) I’ve never been a Woodson fan, but, haters, he has delivered this year with this team (which has had more than its share of injuries).

    Mario West got more burn in the first half against Utah, then he probably otherwise has had total for the entire season! Similarly, rarely used Acie Law played some quality D on CP and Deron in successive games.

  • Gnasche

    I think Houston lost the game because they jacked up way too many off-balance threes. They shot 5-28 from three and could have won if they’d have made the extra pass to guys who were set. It seemed like every time they put one up from outside they were still moving their feet.

  • E$

    Poor Utah, can’t flop for wins on the road

  • LakeShow84

    OK ok.. lemme say it.. Chris Paul is a monster no doubt.. I prefer Deron and would rather watch his game but i cant deny that CP3 puts up SICK numbers.. that man is a stat machine..

    And Kobe vs. RonRon?? Kobe owns Ron Artest in their head to heads.. i remember when Artest went to Sacramento and i thought to myself “shit they got someone to stop Kobe” then in the first meet Kobe dropped 30 and some nice dimes on him.. Ron Artest just got pissed because he was actually winning (finally) and thought they would come out and manhandle Kobe.. ehhh dont think so..

    @ ProfTx

    So you saying Ron Artest is a clean defender?? cuz you can shut that shit down right there.. you know what i have a problem with?? when good defensive teams get away with shit because of their “repuation”.. Boston is allowed to be physical as hell and they dont nearly get the same amount of calls as, say, the Bucks would if they played like that.. Boston in the Finals was allowed to manhandle us..

    Shit even last night on Sportscenter/NBA TV (dunno) they said Ron Artest got away with a lot of shit he shouldnt have.. like i said refs dont know how to call Kobe because they dont like him (so dont feel too bad haters).. one second he’ll get mugged going to the rim with no whistle then next he’ll get the call on some weak ass body bump which had little contact.. its annoying but hey..

    and big ups to Josh Powell for showing up!

  • Ian

    did anyone notice how NO ONE got in artests face when they were being separated. lol kobe was yappin all the time artest just stood there and smiled thinkin this boy must be crazy. if im a fan sitting court side i go up a few stairs just in case. kobe must be crazy tryin to start shit with ron ron that coulda been the laker season right there.

  • LakeShow84

    So its going down tonight Ian.. i been waiting for another Spurs game in ya’ll spot..

    You guys aint ready for us lol champion resolve my ass..

  • doc

    KOBE BUSTED RON ASS BUT RON D’ED HIS ASS UP BEFORE TOO.HE JUST LOST THIS ONE.SHIT HAPPENS BUT U DONT WANNA TALK SHIT TO KOBE ON THE BALL COURT.

  • K Dizzle

    LMAO @ “if im a fan sitting court side i go up a few stairs just in case.”

    Ian, you ready for tonight? Spurs-Lakers Shit is always like christmas

    @ Lakeshow (#29) Good post, good points

    @ Prof Tx and “Calls like this make it look like the Lakers will be hand-picked for the finals. Stern gets his ratings and marketing machine moving and doesn’t care if the rules get a little bent in the process.”

    I hope you right and the lakers are “guaranteed a finals spot” I know that ain’t true and it’s a bad argument to pick one game versus Houston as makin any kind of dent in the playoffs

  • Ian

    k and lakeshow
    of course im ready hehehe now confident without manu?? well not so much

  • LakeShow84

    As long as Timmy suits up you got a chance Ian..

    I just hope he doesnt tear into Pau’s ass tonight.. Pau had a DECENT game last night but it looks like hes playing on tired legs to me.. and no Bynum to slow him down could get ugly.. i just dont want to see Mbenga on him.. it could real ugly real fast..

  • http://dime yellowrose

    No one should be ejected. Its a physical sport. Its the playoffs. You foul or get fouled. Things is, when kobe fouls its not a big thing. Artest is a man. Even though the call was wrong against him, he had to go to Kobe and given him a verbal warning. When Kobe does it again, he was warned. He is going to get what Artest warned him he would get if he did that again. You don’t fight to be a man, you fight BECAUSE you are man. Foul should have been called on Kobe. Thats all I hve to say about that.

  • http://dime yellowrose

    RE: 2nd game between Rockets and Lakers…No one should be ejected. Its a physical sport. Its the playoffs. You foul or get fouled. Things is, when Kobe fouls its not a big thing. Artest is a man. Even though the call was wrong against him, he had to go to Kobe and give him a verbal warning. They are both very physical. Thats cool, but the throat thing, can’t happen again. When Kobe does it again, he has had his verbal warning. The Rockets have to plan the refs and the Lakers. Its a physical game. When someone keeps elbowing you and the refs look the other way, it sets the fire into place. You don’t fight to be a man, you fight BECAUSE you are man. Foul should have been called on Kobe. Seems the Lakers are hand picked to wind. The Rockets have something to say about that.

  • Neka

    i <3 k o b e !!
    i <3 l a k e r z !!