First off, I should probably prefix this article by stating I used to be a HUGE fan of Ron Artest in my early teen years and I admire his hard nosed play and dedication to the defensive end of the floor, with that being said I am well aware of Ron Artest’s history of doing “boneheaded” things in the emotion of the game, and last night’s play probably could go into that category.
In the dying seconds of the Lakers’ 93-81 loss to the Mavericks Artest “clotheslined” guard JJ Barea in what appeared to be a half attempt to trap, half attempt to foul situation.
Here is the video:
From the video you can tell a few things:
- This is not a Raja Bell situation in any means, Artest clearly was not trying to pull Barea to the ground and wasn’t trying to instigate a fight.
- The officials calmly dealt with the situation and prevented any sort of further actions from both teams.
- The Horry/Nash fiasco and the suspensions that followed it has killed any chance we will see either team react to a foul as no one wants to get suspended for leaving the bench or jumping to a teammates defense.
- Artest has a built in cop out in the fact that it looks like he was going in to trap Barea. It is a weak defense, but if he wasn’t Ron Artest it probably could get him off with just a fine.
But the question is, will Ron Artest get suspended, and does he even deserve to be suspended in the first place?
First I will compare it to two other recent playoff suspensions, the Zaza Pachulia and Jason Richardson suspensions and Dwight Howard’s elbow to Samuel Dalembert in the 2009 Playoffs.
Here is the Jason Richardson/Zaza “Fight”
This is a different situation from the Artest incident as there is actually a reaction and a shoving match involved. You could argue that both players didn’t deserve to be suspended as they already were ejected from the game, but both players were suspended from Game Four of their series for their action in this scuffle.
The Dwight Howard Elbow
This is more similar to the Artest play as the play was isolated from the play and you can clearly see that Howard was targeting Samuel Dalembert’s face. Howard was suspended for Game Six of this series and there wasn’t much uproar about it from what I can remember.
I suspect Artest to be suspended for Game Three and have no problem with it, but I do have a problem with why he is being suspended.
This is the NBA that we have been given and plays like this are going to be dealt suspensions almost every time, I don’t agree with it but there is no sense in fighting it players are obviously going to have to adjust to it, but emotion does get into the game, especially in playoff basketball, and I think the NBA should realize that and adjust the way they punish players in the postseason.
These playoff suspensions can be the difference between winning and losing a series and David Stern should finally come to his senses that no one is going to stop watching the NBA Playoffs because a few dudes shove each other or an elbow gets tossed here and there. The NBA’s highest ratings came in the league’s roughest era, an era that cemented David Stern’s role as commissioner of the NBA.
He shouldn’t forget that.