Stern defends officials NBA commissioner David Stern disagreed with coaches and players in the Rockets -Lakers series who said the events in the first few games pointed to a need for greater clarity as to what constituted a flagrant-1 or flagrant-2 foul. He blamed game broadcasters for much of the confusion of controversy, but did not claim the rules are always clear.
"In our sport? Is it clear?" Stern said. "(Officiating) in the paint and trying to give a consistent interpretation? It is the most difficult sport there is to ref. But our referees do the best they can, and we do the best we can to adding clarity.
"Let them put it up on the screen, rather than have the color commentator say, ?I don't care what the rule says, that shouldn't be anything.' That's a terrific way to have 60 members of the (officiating) staff to have a good call. But we need to do a better job as well. People are confused. But we would hope our broadcast partners would put the rule up, understand it and then indicate the difficult job referees have."
Stern did not agree with Rockets guard Ron Artest who said past issues led to his ejections from Games 2 and 3, though Stern did seem to consider it possible.
"There may be a human element to it if you're a ref when somebody has gone off, you worry they may go off," Stern said. "That's human and I understand. I don't know that it's profiling. I understand what Ron is saying."
Artest starts day sick
Rockets guard Ron Artest missed Thursday's morning shootaround with an upset stomach, but before the 95-80 win said he felt "great" after getting intravenous treatment at home.
"They gave me some medicine to make everything go away," Artest said. "I was not worried, not at all. I just wanted to make sure I was feeling good. The doctors, they care about me. Gave me a little lollipop, a little candy, some gum and some coloring books.
"Every day is good, especially after I got those coloring books. I had a lot of fun playing the maze today."
He ended with 14 points.
Hayes a defensive key
The Rockets believed things began to turn from a seven-point lead to a 40-point blowout in Game 5 when Chuck Hayes picked up his second first-quarter foul. Heading into the Game 6 victory, that inspired Shane Battier to call Hayes by a name he has rarely heard.
"Chuck has become our Most Valuable Player, believe it or not," Battier said. "He holds the key to our defense. He allows us to do certain things against Kobe (Bryant). He's our best post defender against their tall trees down low."
Hayes was able to play 30 minutes Thursday and picked up only four fouls.
Players side with student
Rockets players were stunned to learn of the story of 12-year-old Hamilton Middle School student Angel Garza, who was sent home and told not to return until he removed the Rockets logo that he had cut into his hair to match Ron Artest's.
Rockets forward Carl Landry was not amused.
"Students just want to enjoy sports," Landry said. "They could be out doing things, shooting people, doing drugs, robbing, stealing.
"He just got a logo on his head, a Rockets logo. Who cares? That teacher should be suspended, or the principle. It's crazy."
Added Chuck Hayes: "Teachers need to get Red."
Odom feeling better
Lamar Odom said his bruised lower back felt better Thursday. Lakers coach Phil Jackson described Odom's back as "status quo."
"It's a contusion, so you have to deal with whatever lingering soreness," Jackson said. "It's hindering his mobility."
Odom scored 10 points in 18 minutes in Game 5 after hurting his back taking a hard fall in Game 4.
In Game 6, Odom had eight points and a game-high 14 rebounds in 281/2 minutes off the bench.
Series tied 3-3
Gm. Result Top scorer Top rebounder
1 Rockets 100, Lakers 92 Bryant 32 Gasol 13
2 Lakers 111, Rockets 98 Bryant 40 Gasol 14
3 Lakers 108, Rockets 94 Bryant 33 Yao 14
4 Rockets 99, Lakers 87 Brooks 34 Scola 14
5 Lakers 118, Rockets 78 Bryant 26 Gasol, Scola 13
6 Rockets 95, Lakers 80 Bryant 32 Odom 14
Gm. When/where TV Radio
7 2:30 Sun., Los Angeles ABC 610 AM, 850 AM (Spanish)