Game 2 Recap — The View from Houston...

There's a football term for for what we saw, very descriptive and very accurate: a "decleater." A player races down the field with his head in the clouds, not paying full attention to his location or the situation, oblivious, when suddenly he is crushed by an opponent with such ferocity that his feet fly up in the air and he lands on his back in a crumpled heap, wondering if the world has ended and if he'll ever see his mama again.

The enforcer of the Los Angeles Lakers did exactly that to the clutching, grabbing, gritty Power Forward of the Houston Rockets during Game 2 Wednesday night, a convincing 111-98 disassembly of the visitors at Staples Center in Los Angeles. 

Did I mention that the Lakers' enforcer is a 35 year old, 6'1" Point Guard named Derek Fisher?

No one can accuse Rocket PF Luis Scola of executing a Euroflop on this one — that was a glorious hit, an NHL-worthy check that put the Argentine piggies-over-keister on the hardwood. Flagrant 2-gonna-get-suspended big. To quote John Madden: BOOM!!!


T-shirts will surely be printed saying "OUR POINT GUARD CAN TAKE WHUP YOUR POWER FORWARD." But will they appreciate the gorgeous aggression down Houston way? Let's take a look at what they're reading and writing and find out, shall we?

(More after the jump...)

Click the headlines to read full stories...

(1)

Lakers Get Mad, Even: The series turned rough again in the third quarter as Rockets forward Luis Scola was sent to the floor by Lakers guard Derek Fisher, who was ejected from the game for the flagrant foul.

by Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle

LOS ANGELES - The Rockets had been chasing the Lakers all night. But this time, when Ron Artest ran after Kobe Bryant, the poise and focus that had kept them in the game despite everything the Lakers had thrown their way was gone.

Artest had taken a Bryant elbow to the throat on the previous possession and the frustration that had grown through the long, physical game became too much.

Artest charged to push his face into Bryant's. With the Rockets down 10, he was ejected, Bryant was further inspired and the Rockets had run out of comebacks.

With the emotions of the series soaring in just the second game, the Lakers rolled through the final minutes to put away the Rockets 111-98, sending the series to Friday's Game 3 tied at one game apiece.

In a game marked by five technical fouls, two ejections, a flagrant foul and one Von Wafer temper tantrum, earning him banishment to the locker room by Rockets coach Rick Adelman, the Lakers regrouped while the Rockets had little left. The Rockets' physical Game 1 win had been followed by an emotionally-charged Game 2 loss, and after coming back throughout the game, the Rockets knew where it got away.

"We're here to play, play hard, as hard as you can," forward Luis Scola said. "We lost a little bit of composure." * * *

 

(2)

Now, Series Becomes a Dogfight

by Richard Justice, Houston Chronicle

LOS ANGELES - Kobe Bryant's elbow landed squarely in Ron Artest's throat. At some point, the NBA will acknowledge that much.

There'll be a meaningless letter and an even more meaningless fine, and that'll be the en d of it.
"It would be very telling, very telling, if something happened," Shane Battier said.

Forget about it. The NBA will say it was incidental contact or that Artest should know better than to hit use his throat as a weapon against Bryant's poor innocent elbow.

Bryant got away with two cheap shots in Game 1, and he'll get away with the one he threw in Game 2 as well. Let's take a collective deep breath and deal with it.

This series won't be decided by the NBA proving it has a separate set of rules for Kobe Bryant. We already know that.

Lakers guard Derek Fisher is more likely to be suspended for the elbow he threw at Luis Scola in the third quarter. Fisher will understand. Veterans always do. * * *

 

(3)

Kobe, Lakers Show Tough Side in Game 2 Win

by Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle

LOS ANGELES - Following their surprising eight-point loss to the Rockets in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals, the Los Angeles Lakers had their toughness called into question.

The Lakers wanted to put that issue to rest in Wednesday night's Game 2, standing up to the Rockets in more ways than one during an emotionally-charged 111-98 win to even the series.

From Lamar Odom repeatedly getting into the face and ear of Rockets forward Luis Scola to veteran point guard Derek Fisher leveling Scola with an elbow, the Lakers were determined not to be pushed around.

"One of the reasons we lost last year in the Finals (to Boston) is we weren't physical enough," said Luke Walton, one of three Lakers called for technical fouls. "They were pushing us around and we didn't push back. We want to make sure that's not the reason we don't lose this year."

Fisher was called for a flagrant foul and ejected in the final minute of the third quarter for throwing a vicious elbow into Scola, a play which could earn him a fine and suspension. Scola had exchanged words with Odom and Walton only moments before, leading to all three being called for technical fouls.

Bryant was called for a technical foul midway through the fourth quarter for taunting Rockets guard Shane Battier.

"It was a good, physical game," said Bryant, who scored 40 points and was involved in a late-game exchange with Artest. "It was playoff basketball. The intensity is elevated a little bit because there's a lot at stake." * * *

 

(4)

It's On Now

front page of ClutchFans.com

If you weren't sure why people hate the Lakers, you're probably aware now. Joey Crawford, Derek Fisher and Kobe Bryant sent tacky levels to new highs as the Lakers got Game 2 with a 111-98 win.

Fisher delivered a vicious and intentional cheap shot on Luis Scola before he could set a pick that drew an automatic ejection (and should get a suspension, but likely won't). Kobe (40 points) elbowed Ron Artest in the throat in the fourth -- the foul was mysteriously called on Artest, who was then ejected for arguing and confronting Kobe for it.

Crawford, who ejected Artest, also kept Yao Ming out of the game with foul trouble throughout. Oh, and did we mention that Von Wafer got into an argument with Rick Adelman after halftime and was sent to the showers early? This series just got interesting.

 

(5)

Tempers flare in the fourth as Bryant, Lakers defeat Houston 111-98 in Game 2

by Tom Martin, The Dream Shake

This was supposed to be about basketball. It was, after all, a basketball game. And through three quarters, it wasn't just a normal game; it was back-and-forth, tough-it-out game that featured some wonderful plays. Storylines were everywhere to be found. At that point, I had written down the following list of topics to cover in this recap:

* Andrew Bynum's benching

* Kobe Bryant's incredible first quarter

* Ron Artest's continued brilliance on offense

* Carl Landry's outstanding performance

* Luis Scola's horrible performance

* Yao Ming's dead air performance

* The Rockets' hustle and resilient effort heading into the fourth.

But then the fourth quarter arrived, and each one of those aforementioned subjects quickly faded into the background. In their place stepped flaring tempers, ejections, dirty plays, and chemistry issues.

It was no longer a basketball game. The score, the statistics, the drive to win — none of that mattered anymore. It turned into an episode of Jerry Springer, with each of the players accusing each other of this and that, jawing at each other like maniacs to escalate the situation, and then losing their tempers before being broken up by the referees, who naturally played the role of the security guards.

It would have made for some great TV ratings, I'm sure of that. But for all of the wrong reasons. Oh, this could have been quite a special game. Unfortunately, the Rockets' opponent had a different agenda. * * *

There are tough players in this league, and then there are dirty players. Derek Fisher, a man who garnered so much respect from fans for how he dealt with a family crisis during the playoffs a few years back, can now be labeled as a dirty player. It only takes one play, and this wasn't just a tiny cheapo. It was the most disgraceful thing I have ever seen from Fisher, and he deserves every bit of criticism that he will undoubtedly receive. That, and a nice letter from Stu Jackson.

Fisher decided not to be the better man. He decided that getting even was important. And instead of going through a pick in the same manner as every other guard in the NBA, Fisher decided to throw an elbow at Scola's face. I expect this from a young, immature, fresh-outta-high-school player, but not from an experienced veteran. Scola could have been knocked out cold. And yet, Fisher stands there like nothing happened. I mean, if you're going to start something, then by all means, follow through on it. Where was the continued trash talk while Scola was lying on the ground? Where was the final blow? Surely that is what Fisher was trying to do, wasn't it? * * *

 

(6)

THOSE RAT BASTARDS!!! F$CK LA!!!!

by Fuck the Lakers, posted to The Dream Shake

* * *
Phil jACKSON- Fuck you and your artificial hips. You gravytrained your way to 9 rings off of MJ AND SHAQ. Rudy T will outcoach you anyday.

D. Fisher- You dirty son of a bitch. You are lucky Scola did not put you in a boston crab and snap your legs Ju Jitsu style.

Kobe- Overrated [expletive deleted], you will never win a ring on your own. I can't wait to spit on you when you come play here in htown YOU [expletive deleted] rapist wife cheater loser.

Sasha Vujacic- You greasy son of a bitch. I hate you with a passion. I hope you get the swine flu and die.

Luke Walton- nuff said, you fucken suck. Do not talk trash until you play more than 2 minutes a game.

GO ROCKETS, CLUCTH CITY #2, WE ARE GOING TO KICK THEIR ASSES IN GAME 3.!

 

** ADDENDA **

(7)

Rockets Stumble in LA

by Brody, Rockets Buzz

* * *
Now, however briefly, I will touch upon what I thought was a well officiated but poorly contested fourth quarter. Joe Crawford did an excellent job letting the players decide the outcome last night. If anything he let them play too much and players like Luis Scola, Lamar Odom, Kobe Bryant, and Ron Artest took advantage of that. Unfortunately, now that the NBA has been forewarned of the bad blood that will inevitably leak into Game 3, I expect that much of the emotion that made Game 2 so enjoyable to watch will be sucked out of the series in what is sure to be a whistle fest.

I like to believe that Artest was justified in retaliating the way he did against Kobe, but that simply wasn't the case. In no way should Kobe have come away looking composed and mature. His attitude all night was detestable —jawing to Doug Collins that no one could guard him and trying to pick fights with Battier and Carl Landry — two the most upstanding and reputable players in the NBA.

Why someone who has already proved so much needs to be constantly seeking approval from everyone else irks me, but that discussion should really be left to a more qualified crowd. * * *

As for Luis Scola and Derek Fisher, I think both got what they deserved. Scola, at 6' 8" and 245, aided Fisher's obvious (and that means suspension worthy) attempt to injure him. Of course it was a foul, and yes he should have been kicked out of the game, but Scola still flopped to the ground as if in serious pain. He acted. If grown men want to play this way so be it, but I'll go back to watching college highlights on Youtube. Fisher got ejected and should be suspended, but Scola's the one who rolled on the ground clutching his face. Play tough, act tough, and don't expect calls on one end and not the other.

The largest element missing from last night's game, outside of Artest and Wafer in the fourth quarter, was Yao Ming. Foul trouble or not, even when he was in the game Yao wasn't a factor. 12 points in 26 minutes will not cut it. * * *

 

(8)

Rockets

by The Random Guy, Fourth and Fifty.com

* * *
If I was a twitterrerer, this is what you would have seen last night:

* Nooooooooooooo!

* Yesssssssssssssss!

* Getting ugly -

* MORTAL KOMBAT!!!!

This is really getting ugly. I'm also worried that these late starts are impacting local business productivity, which is going to hurt our local economy. Damn you, Los Angeles. One other thing — I should have said this after game 1, but I worried that as devastating as the Battier Face Guard is, if it is his only move, eventually Kobe will get used to it. Mix it up, Senator Battier — throw in an elbow or a nut shot every now and again. Everyone else is.

 

The Bottom Line:

1. We promised you a tough game, Lakers... But NOT SO HARD!!! THAT HURTS!!! IF YOU DO IT AGAIN WE'RE GONNA TELL MOM!!!!!!

2. Derek Fisher and Kobe are bad people who should be shoved into a brush shredder and fed to wild hogs. Ron Artest is tragically misunderstood.

3. Of course you won Game 2, given the Massive League Office Conspiracy, rigged officiating, and dirty play. You suck so bad! God, we hate you!!! Just wait until you come to Houston!!! Just wait!!! Humph!!!  MOMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!

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