Will Lakers Retaliate When Heat Invade Tinseltown?
After Dwyane Wade gave Kobe Bryant a nasal fracture and a concussion in last month’s All-Star Game, their Sunday meeting went from a must-see, to one filled with drama and anticipation. And although Wade has publicly apologized since the incident, truth is that, the foul was completely out of line — especially when players were literally moving out of the way to let other guys dunk and showoff — and much like in baseball, retaliation may be necessary in this instance.
The fact that pitchers and managers — at any level — protect their star players when they get hit intentionally may be the best way to put this baby to bed. Furthermore, if there were ever a group of guys willing to seek retribution, for these types of feuds, they would probably be named Ron Artest, Matt Barnes or Andrew Bynum.
“There is an eye on Matt Barnes and [Metta World Peace] and myself,” Bynum said. “There just is. It’s part of the game. We’re going to get hit extra hard for anything.”
Bynum missed the first four games of this season after the league suspended him for a hard foul on then-Mavericks guard JJ Barea in last year’s playoffs. Bynum was also suspended for two games last season for a flagrant foul on Minnesota’s Michael Beasley, not to mention when he sent Gerald Wallace to the hospital with a cracked rib and a partially collapsed lung three years ago.
Because of all those incidents, the 7-footer believes the league will be keeping a close eye on him, and claims he will not be the one to even the score with Wade today. It would certainly be interesting to hear Barnes and Artest’s take on this issue.
“I can’t do anything about it,” he said about the situation with Wade. “If I do anything they’re going to definitely hit me. It sucks. It’s not good. It’s unfortunate. It’s something we got to deal with. I got Beasley, I got Barea and people blame me for the Gerald Wallace incident.”
Bryant will be wearing a protective facemask for the third game in a row today. The Black Mamba is averaging 35 points per game with the mask after pouring on 31 against the Wolves and lighting up the Kings with 38. Although Kobe isn’t buying into all the hoopla surrounding the potential bad blood in this game, you have to believe he will be seeking another form of payback.
“It happens,” he said. “You just have to deal with it and try to heal up as quickly as you possibly can, and get back on the court.”