Gerald Wallace-Ron Artest Rivalry Heats Up
By ShalamarClark Posted in: Blazers, Lakers
Even Trail Blazer Head Coach Nate McMillan doesn’t know who would win in a cage fight, Gerald Wallace or Ron Artest?
“That’ll be a good one,” said McMillan. “Cause I don’t expect either guy to back down.”
No, there won't be a MMA pay-per-view. But it may come by no surprise that the tension between Portland’s Gerald Wallace and Los Angeles’ Ron Artest has gotten hotter over the past two games.
They may deny it or chose not to acknowledge any kind of ill feelings towards each other, but the truth is, it’s out in the open and it’s very noticeable.
Artest, a counterpart in the Malice at the Palace in 2004, is no stranger to confrontation and isn’t shy to get into the mix with players around the league.
Like in the Trail Blazers’ 93-86 win over the Lakers last night at the Rose Garden, where the cat-and-mouse game between Wallace and Artest turned into a destructive episode of Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner with all the explosions and fireworks.
What do I mean by this? I mean that it was only a matter of time before their aggressive play triggered the refs to slap with a technical foul on both players in the fourth quarter.
Or how about Artest’s smothering defense on Wallace in retaliation. Wallace was even shoved to the ground by the Laker culprit Artest.
“It was a physical ball game,” said Wallace. “It was a point that needed to be made. I wasn’t going to back down from hm.”
Now remember, this isn’t the first time both players have exchanged bumps, shoves and, most likely, a few foul words, which called for separation by their respective teammates.
They jumped into the pot and got the water boiling at the Staples Center on March 30, when Wallace fouled Artest with 44.8 seconds left in the fourth. They went into a cold stare down, and then Artest attempted to force his elbow into Wallace’s face, while Wallace refused to relinquish a clinch on Artest.
So what’s the beef all about? Like McMillan have said before, it’s the guts of the game.
With both players, their styles are similar in ways. They both excel when it comes to applying their grittiness and physicality on the offensive and defensive end. They penetrate the minds of their opponents by using piercing glares, harder bumps and their sheer toughness to throw players off their game.
“I play just as physical as he does,” said Wallace of Artest.
But after Friday’s contest, I couldn’t help but think, depending on the outcome of the Trail Blazers’ final two games, that there’s a chance for a Portland-Los Angeles first-round bid.
Wallace vs. Artest in seven rounds.
If this is the case, McMillan will find out who would outlast not in a cage, but in seven matchups in the playoffs.
How intense! A Tyson-Lewis-like bout with all the drama and non-stop action to keep us on the edges of our seats. Believe me Wallace and the Trail Blazers will be ready.