It was an huge win for Memphis at the Staples Center tonight, particularly with the ejection of Eddie Jones and Mike Miller and Shane Battier having fouled out. And while I’d prefer to focus on the clutch play down the stretch by Damon Stoudamire (having a bit of a revival this week), the real question is how did Kobe Bryant stay in this game? Bryant was bloodied in a collision with Mike Miller (above) during the 3rd quarter, but the foul was correctly called on the former. After being bandaged, Bryant returned to hit 3 successive 3 pointers….and delivered a blatant forearm to Miller’s throat when the Memphis guard tried to drive the lane.
Retaliation is one thing, but Bryant was settling a score over contact he initiated. ESPN’s Dee Brown observed that had a similar foul been committed by Ron Artest or Danny Fortson, either would’ve been ejected (and presumably, fined or suspended afterwards).
Had such an incident occured in a city other than L.A., the failure to run Kobe would’ve resulted in a riot. This was about as premeditated a mugging as it gets, and nonsensical to boot.