Rockets-Lakers: Video Evidence Be Damned, the NBA Must Have the Lakers Advance

Josh HallContributor IMay 10, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 07:  NBA Commissioner David Stern presents Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers the MVP Trophy before the start of Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Utah Jazz during the 2008 NBA Playoffs on May 7, 2008 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)*** Local Caption *** Kobe Bryant;David Stern

The NBA is making a mockery of the NBA playoffs with their decisions made regarding the Houston Rockets-Los Angeles Lakers Western Conference semifinal. 

After the Rockets won Game One, a very nasty tone emerged, and the referees and the league are using this to push the Houston Rockets out of the playoffs.

In Game Two, Derek Fisher committed one of the most blatant cheap shots I have ever seen in an NBA game.  His elbow on Luis Scola was inexcusable.  He was ejected, and rightfully so. 

In the same half of the game, Kobe Bryant threw another blatantly-illegal elbow on Ron Artest.  Kobe did not get thrown out, though.  He did not even get called for a foul—but Artest did.

What ensued was embarrassing to watch as a basketball fan.  Artest tried to argue the call and the referee would hear none of it.  Artest confronted Kobe, and was immediately ejected from the game.  That was pretty much the end of Game Two for the Rockets. 

Now, some people might say the referee missed Kobe's elbow on Artest, and mistakes do happen—but no!  We have instant replay for that exact situation, and it was utilized after Derrick Fisher's cheap shot on Scola before he was ejected.  The refs never consulted the replay to see what Kobe did—even after seeing Artest explode after the play. 

After the game, the NBA decided to suspend Derek Fisher for one game and, upon finally watching the video, issue Kobe Bryant a flagrant-one.  The one that did not carry a mandatory suspension?  Really?

Game Three may have been the final nail in Houston's coffin.  At the tail end of the fourth quarter, Ron Artest went up to contest a layup with a hard foul.  He got a lot of ball, but it was definitely a foul. 

He was once again ejected immediately.  The officials did not consult the replay to see if he was going for the ball—they instead called a flagrant-two foul on the spot.  This led to an automatic suspension for Ron Artest in Game Four.

I am not here to say the Rockets would be winning this series if not for the officiating.  The Lakers are a talented team capable of winning on their own. 

But I am sickened to watch the NBA disregard all sense of fair play in order to set up the cash cow that a Kobe vs. LeBron finals would prove to be.  All I wanted was a fair series—but for the NBA, that is simply too much to ask.

If you think that I am just a bitter Rockets fan, I ask you to simply watch the video evidence that supports what I have to say. 

And if you think the NBA is above fixing a series to get Kobe in the finals, go watch a tape of the 2002 Sacramento Kings-Los Angeles Lakers Western Conference Finals.  Hell, just Google it.  Seven years later and Sacramento fans are still just as upset.

Video evidence is irrefutable.  The problem is the NBA has its eyes elsewhere.  They are far too busy counting the money they are going to make off Kobe vs. LeBron in the finals. 

David Stern, your product has lost all credibility.  I hope the money you will make from the corruption is worth it.