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Artest: There's Kobe, then there's me (UPDATE)

Posted on: May 8, 2009 2:15 pm
Edited on: May 8, 2009 5:57 pm

HOUSTON -- Ron Artest is enjoying the spotlight. He is speaking freely, with brutal honesty and a huge smile. And for once, the topic is something that is happening on the basketball court, not off it.

Artest was on a roll Friday at the Rockets' shootaround before Game 3, saying Kobe Bryant got away with an elbow to the throat that precipitated their verbal skirmish in Game 2 and that the referees treat him differently because of his reputation.

"I think (Bryant) knows he got away with one," Artest said. "That's the referees' job. They see the second reaction. They never see the first with me. Joey [Crawford] was doing a great job. He was involved in every play except the Kobe plays."

As for how Artest feels about being ejected for jawing with Bryant after the elbowing incident, he said, "That's not racial profiling. It's past history profiling."

That's just a preview of what Artest had on his mind in the hours before Game 3 Friday night at the Toyota Center.

UPDATE: For example: Artest called Crawford's decision to eject him "a bad ejection;" said that he told Bryant during their confrontation, "If you're gonna get out of line, I'm gonna get out of line;" and warned that he'll give the referees three chances to protect him in Game 3. And if they don't? Two things will happen, according to Artest.

Thing No. 1: "I'm gonna report it to the police," he said.

And Thing No. 2: "Then I gotta protect myself."

The league office ruled that Bryant's elbow landed in Artest's chest and not his neck, thus ruling out the possibility of suspending Bryant for Game 3. Artest had some fun with that one, too, saying, "Oh, OK. If they say so." But after Kobe's elbow, Artest's response, and Derek Fisher's hip-check to Luis Scola -- which did earn him a suspension for Game 3 -- tensions are high and threats are flowing freely in what has suddenly become the most physical and intriguing series in the conference semifinals.

The one place threats and yap aren't coming from would be Bryant's mouth. Kobe deflected all Artest-related queries at the Lakers' shootaround an hour later, but he finally caved in and offered this: "You guys know me, man. You know I don't back down from anybody. Simple as that."

It's not going to be so simple for the officiating crew: Steve Javie, Sean Corbin, and Ron Garretson. If it's any consolation, Javie was the crew chief for Game 7 of the chippy series between the Celtics and Bulls. In a series that saw Rajon Rondo slapping Brad Miller's face and throwing Kirk Hinrich into the scorer's table, cooler heads prevailed in Game 7.

"It’s just basketball, but it depends on how they want to ref the game," Artest said. "You can hit back, but are they gonna see the first one or are they gonna see the second one? ... So my team, we were just trying to play basketball, but they kept seeing the second one. So I got guys walking my players down, walking behind their back. If somebody walks behind my back, automatically I'm gonna turn around and I might smack them if somebody’s walking right behind me because that’s my natural reaction. So I mean, the referees, they should know that. I think they’re going to do a better job."

One thing about Artest: He knows how to jab you where it hurts. So he proceeded to join the chorus of arm-chair analysts who have suggested that perhaps the Lakers are overcompensating because of how the Celtics outmuscled them in the Finals last year. Except Artest said it better than that.

"Last year, what the Celtics did to them was more about manhood than basketball," Artest said. "They took their manhood. They took it right from under them."


Predictably, Lakers coach Phil Jackson had some fun with all of this while addressing the media on the Toyota Center court. 

"Oh, I don't know, there’s been a lot of that talk," Jackson said. "You have all those guys and they’re sitting at their desk speculating on what we have to do to win or not to win. But it’s about being aggressive. We’re not a heavy team. Guys like Artest, we only give up 20 or 30 pounds to him at all our spots. So he can walk guys to wherever he wants to down underneath the basket. If the referees aren’t going to call it, we have to provide support for ourselves. And that’s the way it is."

Asked if Bryant crossed the line with his elbow to Artest, Jackson said, "You know, what Kobe did happens every single game, maybe 20 times in a game. A big guy’s trying to shove a smaller guy out underneath the basket, and they’re going to have to fight for their life underneath there. It happens all the time. It’s just got a focus because of what happened. We can focus on it as a league and in the press in the playoffs, but those things happen all the time in our game. This is not a game for boys. This is a game for men."

I agree. But that doesn't mean I will deny Artest's right to use the incident as motivation.

"I think they did a good job getting us out of our game, because we were comfortable playing basketball," Artest said. "And it turned into like a fight. We've got to remember just to play basketball when it turns into a fight."

And that it will be, one way or another, in a few short hours.


Since: Feb 14, 2009
Posted on: May 8, 2009 6:52 pm

Artest: There's Kobe, then there's me (UPDATE)

Artest might be the dumbest player in the NBA. He gets a personal foul under the basket and turns it into an ejection just when his team needs him the most. Then he goes on another rant in the media practically telling everyone that he is going to retaliate. You think the refs for Game 3 aren't reading this or haven't heard? They are going to be looking at every play involving Artest, itching to blow the whistle. If Artest could just keep it together and keep his mount shut, everything would be fine. But he can't. That is one of the biggest reasons he is playing for his 4th or 5th NBA team now. Just shut up and play. Everyone gets a bogus call against them, but when you go running around the court like a little girl with a skinned knee, you give the refs no choice but to react.

As for the last comment, Howard elbowed Dalembert in the side of the head right in front of the ref after the play had already gone away from them. That is a little bit different than jockeying for position under the basket, and elbowing someone in the chest and grabbing the rebound in the same motion. Sorry dude.

Since: Nov 9, 2006
Posted on: May 8, 2009 6:44 pm

Artest: There's Kobe, then there's me (UPDATE)

Its kind of hard to profile kobe out there when it comes to being aggressive and being a little violent.... i mean he isnt known for fighting.  His little incident was quite different than artest's past problems. maybe when a foul is called on kobe for sexually assaulting someone on the court you could argue profiling. 
As for the punishments given out i think Stu Jackson did a good job.  I would have liked to have seen Kobe get at least a flagrant two but the one was ok.  I do think that what happened between kobe and ron down low happens all the time in the NBA but that was a no-brainer elbow with bad intentions.  Derek Fisher's punishment was exactly what it shoulda been, you could see the guy turn his head and look right at scola and gave him his best Donald Brashear.  The eject
ion of Fisher was basically the only think Joey Crawford got right the entire game.  Although i think Joey Crawford is the worst official in the NBA, I dont blame him for kicking artest out of the game after the gesture because he could have taken that one of two ways and it also kept anything worse from happening in the game.

I have really enjoyed watching this series and i hope more of the same aggressive play comes in the next few games.  Hopefully nothing bad happens to Kobe the next time he tries to get away with a cheap shot like that. 

Since: Dec 20, 2008
Posted on: May 8, 2009 6:39 pm

Artest: There's Kobe, then there's me (UPDATE)

Question: What's the difference between Dwight Howard's thrown elbow to the one Kobe threw?Undecided
The results are a one game suspension to an F1? Tongue out Now we know how high up the ladder the NBA (Stern) has Kobe.  InnocentMust be on the second rung (of the ladder)

Since: Aug 28, 2006
Posted on: May 8, 2009 6:08 pm

Artest: There's Kobe, then there's me (UPDATE)

That would be "HEAR your illiterate ass".

You illiterate ass!

WOM Motorsports
Since: Jun 8, 2008
Posted on: May 8, 2009 5:52 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: May 8, 2009 5:45 pm

Past History Profiling?

Artest would have gotten more mileage if he had not forgot that Kobe had a little hotel issue in Colorado...  
Or maybe the rest of us have already forgotten?
Maybe Kobe needs to buy Ron a big ring?

Since: Apr 2, 2008
Posted on: May 8, 2009 5:35 pm

Artest: There's Kobe, then there's me (UPDATE)

How great was that crackback block that D Fish put on Scola. I wonder if his teeth have stopped rattling?

Since: Mar 18, 2008
Posted on: May 8, 2009 5:33 pm

Artest: There's Kobe, then there's me (UPDATE)

I know Artest feels like he was hit in the neck, but has he seen the replays? From the angle I saw on ESPN, it was clearly in his chest and not his neck or face like he keeps saying.

The refs should have called a foul on Artest earlier, then it would not have come to all this -- although I confess I like the chippyness. Artest was pushing Kobe down and out under the basket. He should have been assessed a foul earlier.

Since: Sep 2, 2006
Posted on: May 8, 2009 4:51 pm

Artest: There's Kobe, then there's me

I kind of hate to admit it, but Artest is actually right to a degree. He's more right than wrong, anyway.

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