You will never hear me say that the Lakers forward Ron Artest is one of my favorite players in the NBA, heck he doesn't even crack the top 50 to tell you the truth. He's loud, obnoxious and has been an eyesore to the game for years with his antics and bad attitude. But after hearing of his one game suspension for clotheslineing Mavericks J.J. Barea, I have to come out and say that suspending him is an overreaction.
If you watch the video of the incident, the act itself was just a poorly timed effort to intentionally foul the opposing teams player to possibly extend the Lakers chances. With 24 second left and the Mavs up by 8, the Lakers needed as many possessions as possible, hence why Artest intentionally fouled Barea. The problem came about because of three factors; Berea's height, Artest wasn't looking/bad judgment, and Lamar Odom.
The first factor, height comes into play because Barea is barely 6 foot tall and the 6'7” Artest simply extended his arm, probably looking to wrap Barea around the shoulders. The second factor is simple, Artest wasn't really looking at Barea when he fouled him, so he misjudged where to reach out. The third, and most important factor is Lamar Odom. Odom did two things that caused Artest to get in the situation that led to his suspension; the first was that he didn't foul Barea when he got the ball and the second was that he was in Artest's way when he went to foul, thus causing Ron to pull up a bit to avoid a head on collision and thus altering the trajectory of his intentional foul.
The foul, labeled a flagrant 2, could play a huge part in this series as the Lakers are trying to fight back from a 0-2 hole. When asked about it after it was announced, Artest took the high road in that he didn't make matters worse with his normal diarrhea mouth.
"I have no reaction," Artest said after Thursday's practice. "I'm ready to move forward and play basketball."
On the other side, the Mavs Barea had no problem with the suspension, agreeing that it was necessary.
"I think one game is fine," Barea said during an appearance on ESPN 103.3's Galloway and Company. "The league didn't like that it was to the face and it was after the play was called. That's never going to be good with the league. They're making a point and he was suspended for one game."
The Lakers play game 3 tonight at 9:30 pm est.
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