Is this a case of overcompensation? Are the Lakers the puffed up school-yard bully trying to look tough?
Last season the knock on the Lakers was that they were too soft, and that is why they lost to the Celtics in the Finals. The fact they had defeated very physical Utah and San Antonio teams to get there didn’t seem to matter: the label stuck.
Now, the Lakers are knocking people over, and out. Literally.
Back in January a hard foul by Andrew Bynum punctured Gerald Wallace’s lung. Bynum wasn’t suspended.
Trevor Ariza likely will not be so lucky. He laid a hard foul on Rudy Fernandez on a breakaway dunk that knocked him to the ground. Fernandez had to be carried off on a stretcher. Ariza can make a case that he was going for and got the ball, but he also got a lot of the arm of a guy in a vulnerable position because he was in the air and had no way to right himself.
Take a look and decide for yourself . (Try to ignore the Portland announcers on this clip. They rival the Boston and Denver announcers as the worst homers in the league.) Ariza had to be tossed lest a hockey-style retribution came his way.
But should he be suspended, in part, to send a message to the Lakers to play clean?