While the homer-riffic Richard Justice moans “Ron Artest is throwing his throat at Kobe Bryant’s elbow. I mean, what if Kobe’s elbow had been injured. Wouldn’t that be awful?”, another sensational aspect of last night’s highly contentious Rockets/Lakers Game 2 would be the early exit of Houston’s Von Wafer.
Justice’s Chronicle colleague Jonathan Feigen reports Wafer was asked to leave the Rockets bench during the fourth quarter after throwing a tantrum (ok, a water bottle, actually) after being substituted. Possibly not the biggest incident in a night full of ’em, but Basketbawful opines this one — along with Ron Artest tangling with Kobe Bryant ( “Crazy Pills seemed to be the only one who stood up for himself, which isn’t surprising…unfortunately for Houston, it’s also not surprising that the way he stood up for himself was to go after Kobe Bryant so aggressively during a dead ball that he got himself ejected”) — is indicative of Houston’s immaturity.
The Rockets are gonna need every player available and playing well if they want to win this series, and they can ill afford to have Wafer not playing. Von Wafer’s incident with his coach and Ron Artest’s ejection make me wonder not just about the toughness of the Rockets, but about their composure as well. For Houston to win they need Von Wafer in there to make shots, and they need Artest to keep playing smart basketball and not try to make a statement (a la Kobe in Game 1); and these two incidents call all of that into question.