The Rockets as a whole had a tough time last night, falling to the Clippers 106-96 without James Harden, but Jeremy Lin had an especially rough time. It wasn’t so much because of his performance – he managed 14 points and seven assists, though he shot just 4-for-12 and had four turnovers – but because of the physical pounding he took, particularly one second-quarter sequence when he just kept getting knocked down to the court.
And one of those plays, many thought, was dirty. Among those who thought that way: the refs, who assessed a flagrant 1 on Ryan Hollins. The reason? Hollins kicked Lin as he fell to the ground. The only question: did he mean to? Decide as you watch below:
Hollins, as one would expect, pleaded his case that it was an accident, doing the standard “pull arms up in a ‘nothing-to-see-here’ fashion” following the kick, and checking on Lin after he hit the floor. But I’ve watched that kick several times now, and… I don’t see any way Hollins could have needed to make a kicking motion like that, whether to save his balance or… well, any other reason but kicking for the sake of kicking, really. [watches again] Yeah, still not seeing any reason. If anyone (especially Hollins) has one, I’m all ears, but I can’t come up with one.
Granted, I can’t come up with a reason why Hollins would kick Lin on purpose, either. The action wasn’t so especially intense right then that you’d think Hollins simply lost his cool in the moment. There was no possible basketball reason for it – it’s not like Lin was going up for an easy basket and Hollins brought him down a little too hard. Does Hollins just really love kicking stuff? After even more viewings, that’s as good an explanation as I can come up with. Not sure what the league office will think of it, though.