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Rockets' Artest, Lakers' Fisher ejected

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Sports Network
5/7/2009 2:05:21 AM
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Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher and Houston Rockets forward Ron Artest were each ejected from Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinal in what is becoming a very physical series.

The Lakers won Wednesday, 111-98, tying the best-of-seven set.

Fisher was called for a flagrant foul two with 29.3 seconds left in the third quarter after he intentionally backed into Houston's Luis Scola, who came out past the foul line to try and set a screen for teammate Aaron Brooks. Instead, Fisher threw his body into Scola, who fell to the floor.

Fisher was left with a bleeding cut on his head before he departed the court.

Just before that, Scola and Lakers teammates Luke Walton and Lamar Odom were assessed technical fouls. Odom drove to the hoop and was fouled hard. Scola then had words with Walton.

Things turned ugly in the fourth quarter. With 6:57 remaining, Artest was battling Lakers star Kobe Bryant for a rebound. Bryant's right elbow connected with Artest's throat. Artest took exception to the contact and went after Bryant but was restrained before being thrown out of the game.

"I think it's great, but I don't think he should have been kicked out for it," said Bryant. "It's good competitive basketball. He's not going to back down, he knows I'm not going to back down. It makes playoff basketball, playoff basketball. Period."

Bryant said he thought there was no intent behind the elbow.

"We were both fighting for position and shoving under the basket," said Bryant. "I just tried to establish position, but there wasn't anything malicious."

Artest said he didn't intend to go after Bryant, but instead wanted Bryant to relax.

"I'm not retaliating," said Artest. "I didn't do anything to be ejected. I didn't do that stuff when I was in high school, back in my neighborhoods. I did it earlier in the NBA, but I'm done with that."

There is a physical history between Artest and Bryant. In a game on March 11 in Houston, the two shoved and jawed at each other.

"We've been physical. I'm naturally physical," said Artest. "How much more physical can we get?"

After hitting a jumper later in the fourth, Bryant was given a technical foul for taunting Houston's Shane Battier.

To make matters worse for the Rockets, guard Von Wafer was apparently sent to the locker room by the team for arguing with head coach Rick Adelman in the second half.

After the game, Adelman refused to talk about what happened with Wafer.

Game 3 will be Friday night in Houston.

Bryant and Artest (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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