Anyone else notice that tonight's Blazers' comeback took off when Roy hit Artest with an "inadvertent" elbow? Anyone think that elbow was actually inadvertent? Could that elbow turn out to be more valuable than tonight's loss was costly?
Sure, that elbow was "inadvertent," as Mike & Mike termed it (or "accidental" as the B-team in the studio pronounced it). Just like Kobe's flailing fists and feet to Bruce Bowen & Raja Bell's anatomy are "inadvertent"--or like Isiah Thomas' famous shot to Karl Malone's face was "inadvertent"--or like Mutumbo's elbows to [pick a victim] were "inadvertent."
When an offensive player is getting popped every time he gets the ball, he has three choices: 1) turn the other cheek; 2) appeal to the officials; and 3) dish out some punishment in return. As you may have observed, the only reponse that ever works--at least on the road--is option #3. The trick is to retaliate in a sufficiently sneaky way that you won't get called for an offensive foul or--worse--get ejected from the game.
Kobe, Isiah, and Mutumbo are/were masters at the technique--call them Black Belts (literally, in Kobe's case). Chris Paul is already a Brown Belt. Judging from Roy's masterfully delivered elbow tonight, he may finally be learning the art. If so, I'd say that tonight's loss may have had a silver lining. Going down the stretch of this season, games are going to be increasingly physical. The Blazers' ability to deal with other team's aggressiveness will be key to their making the playoffs. In particular, their ability to make defenders leery of guarding too closely and physically will be critical.
Now, if the Blazers' skinny young forwards can just figure out how to box out the likes of Scola, Artest, Hayes, and Battier...