I have not gone back and officially checked the NBA rulebook today, but I’m fairly convinced that clotheslining an opponent is illegal. Right up there with throwing an elbow while jumping off the top turnbuckle and hitting him over the head with a metal folding chair. All fine moves when the WWE referee is distracted, but illegal in basketball.
That is why Ron Artest will get a one-game suspension in Game 3. In the closing moments of the Lakers Game 2 loss to the Mavericks, Artest clotheslined J.J. Barea. He was instantly ejected, as he should have been. Follow this link to the video, if you haven’t seen it.
After the game, even Lakers coach Phil Jackson was resigned to the inevitable.
“It’s uncalled for,” he said in a moment of honesty. “It’s a good chance he’ll be suspended. But I hope not.”
This creates a problem for a Lakers team that has a lot of problems right now (including trust issues, apparently). No Artest means likely Matt Barnes gets the start. But that allows Mavs coach Rick Carlisle to cover Kobe Bryant (who will want to take over Game 3) with the longer and more effective Shawn Marion because Jason Kidd can be put on Barnes. Artest could post up Kidd, making that a dangerous matchup for Dallas. (Kidd also has done a good job on Kobe.)