Thursday, May 7, 2009

Lakers and Rockets Remind Us That It's Just Playoff Basketball

It is odd that in the hours leading up the the Rockets-Lakers Game 2, several of my co-workers and I were discussing how the NBA is changed. There weren't any flagrant fouls. Hard fouls were normal and a vital part of the game. Nowadays, people get bent out of shape about the smallest things.

The Rockets and Lakers got into each other last night. Techs were given out to Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton and Luis Scola. Derek Fisher and Ron Artest were both ejected. Von Wafer was thrown out by his own coach.

Some issues in the game were blown out of proportion. I don't think Artest should have been yanked. I can get with why Fisher was given the hook, but I don't think a suspension is warranted. Kobe got a tech for talking smack to Shane Battier and he did shove an elbow fighting for rebounding position at Artest. Again, I don't see any reason to take it further.

I'm 33, and anyone around my age or older remembers a time when the NBA playoffs were like what we saw last night. Guys barking at each other, physical play, hard fouls and purpose fouls. It's rare to see that anymore. In 1988, the Detroit Pistons came to power by announcing to the world that there were no easy layups. Now, when Dallas' Erik Dampier says that, he risks a fine.

It doesn't help when ... just before the Lakers-Rockets battle ... everyone was aghast about Raefer Alston slapping Eddie House in the head. What is this, a soap opera? A slap? That makes anything in the Lakers-Rockets game look like manslaughter.

I'm not saying that we need to bring back thuggery. But this is what you get when you have teams that believe that can win a title. While it is a 7-game series, there is a finality to it all. While you can think that there are athletes that just do it for the money, the playoffs are when players do it for their legacy.

Your manhood was on the line. When somebody pushes you, you push back.

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