Some people say that basketball is not a physical game. But those people would be wrong. In fact, basketball is one of the most physical games in professional sports. We saw some physicality that went “too” far, on Saturday between the Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves. Timberwolves’ power forward Kevin Love and Rockets’ power forward Luis Scola got into it in the second half of Saturday’s game.
Before we get to that, let me take you back to Monday’s game between these same two teams. A ball was going out-of-bounds, Scola grabbed the ball and as he was about to fall out-of-bounds, Scola threw the ball into the midsection of Love while Love turned away to protect himself from getting hit in the face with the ball. If you watch basketball, you would know that is a typical play, but most players aim for the knees or feet. Now whether it was intentional or not, it wasn’t too big of a deal. The Timberwolves ended up winning that game.
Back to Saturday. Love had the ball in the post and was surrounded by three Rockets, one of them being Scola. Love stepped into Scola, Scola flopped to the floor in the hopes of getting a charge call on Love.
Love missed the jump-hook, got the rebound, was fouled by Samuel Dalembert, but it wasn’t called. Somehow, Love got the ball back, and was fouled again by Dalembert and Scola, who reached-in as Love shot and made it on the third attempt.
The next trip down the floor, Scola got the ball in the post, spun baseline and was stripped of the ball by Love and fell to the floor. The ball bounced to Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio who started the fast-break. As Love started to make his way back down the floor, he had to go through Scola, or, in this case, over Scola. It looked like Love could have stepped around Scola, but instead he stepped on Scola’s chest, sending Scola’s head bouncing off the floor. You can check the play here ESPN.com (this is the direct link).
Now, should Love be suspended for two games for this? Was it a dirty play? Keep in mind that this is the THIRD time these two teams have played each other since January 23rd and the second time they have played this week. Do you think this was Love’s payback for Scola throwing the ball into his midsection earlier in the week?
I have something to say about this.
Kevin Love is my favorite player in the NBA. Do I think he gets fouled more than any player in the NBA during the course of a game? Yes. Did the referees miss multiple foul calls on the possession prior to Scola getting stomped on? Yes. Does a player, who is fouled a lot during the course of a game, get frustrated? Yes, just ask Dwight Howard. Do I think the NBA has gotten soft on some of the calls they make? Yes. Should Love get a pass for what he did to Scola? NO! To be honest, I am disappointed in Love. The Timberwolves are 12-12 this season and in contention for a playoff spot. Thankfully, the two games Love will miss will be against the Sacramento Kings and Memphis Grizzlies. They should beat the Kings, but now it will be tough for them to beat the Grizzlies.
It’s clear that Love was frustrated, but there is no need for that. Just go about your business like the professional you have been over the past two years.