Lakers tie series

Wow, where do we begin with this one? Well, for starters, the Lakers defeated the Houston Rockets tonight, 111-98, in Game 2, tying the best-of-7 series and one victory apiece. Games 3 and 4 are Friday and Sunday in Houston. The Lakers might have to play without guard Derek Fisher, who was ejected late in the third quarter after knocking Houston’s Luis Scola to the floor with a check that would have made any of the Anaheim Ducks proud. That followed a jawbone-session among Scola, Lamar Odom and Luke Walton after Scola fouled Odom on a drive to the basket. Odom and Walton were upset that Scola tugged on Odom’s jersey.

Then things threatened to get really nutty.

Houston’s Ron Artest followed Fisher off the court after he ran to referee Joey Crawford to argue about a foul. Artest thought Kobe Bryant elbowed him in the neck as they jockeyed for position under the Lakers’ basket. Artest got the foul, so he went to Crawford in search of justice. When he received none, he then ran across the court to take up his beef with Bryant, who did his best to walk away from the situation. The referees surrounded Artest and ejected him.

Artest and Bryant clashed in a March 11 game in Houston, when Bryant scored 31 of his 37 points in the second half to rally the Lakers to a victory over the Rockets. Artest and Bryant engaged in a spirited trash-talking duel after Artest asked to guard Bryant in the second half. Shane Battier had been guarding Bryant. Things got physical midway through the fourth quarter and Artest and Bryant each received technical fouls. It seemed to be only a matter of time before they found each other in this series.

It’s unlikely that Artest will be suspended. Bryant said he didn’t believe Artest should have been kicked out. Naturally, Artest agreed. You can expect league punishment czar Stu Jackson to keep a watchful eye on the Lakers and Rockets from here on out. I wouldn’t be surprised if Fisher draws a one-game suspension for knocking down Scola.

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