On Wednesday night in Los Angeles the Western Conference Semifinals got physical. Playoff physical. The Lakers suffered a tough lost on Monday, and questions about their toughness arose again, just like in the Finals against Boston last year. Well Kobe Bryant wasn’t going to let his team go down 0-2. Kobe finished with 40 points on 16-27 shooting, but his outstanding play was overshadowed by a barrage of technicals, flagrents, and two ejections. The game got a little chippy following a nasty rejection by Lamar Odom of Luis Scola. The two exchanged words, but the refs(namely Joey Crawford) let the talking continue. On the next trip down Odom was fouled by Scola and the techs started to flow, Scola , Luke Walton, and Odom were all hit with technicals with seconds left in the third quarter. Moments later Derek Fisher anticipating a screen from Scola, applied a football like move sending Scola flying back, and sending Fisher to the showers. With 7:00 minutes remaining in the 4th, Ron Artest and Kobe Bryant fought for a rebound when Kobe threw a quick elbow hitting Artest in the throat. Artest amazingly was whistled for the foul. You could immediately tell Artest was not gonna let this one slide,”I knew I was going to get a technical foul. The point was to let the refs know this guy was elbowing me,” he said. “I know I went over there with no punches, no shoves to the face, just a confrontation. I told him, ‘You’re hitting the wrong person. Don’t you know you’re hitting Ron Artest?’ I’m not retaliating, I’m done with that.” Artest got in Kobes face following the call and was hit with the fastest two techs ever seen, although one technical for Ron Artest counts as two. Ron Artest showed great composure for a person that is labeled as having a short fuse. The NBA VP of Violence Stu Jackson has tons of tape to review. Derek Fisher probably faces the worst punishment in a series that is a long way from being over. Game 3 is Friday in Houston, and look for the refs to take control of the physicality early on. In a series that drew blood in Game1 and double ejections in Game2, we can only expect Game 3 to continue the level of physical play. But if the Lakers thought the path to the Finals was gonna be easy the Houston Rockets have shown in the first two games that its only going to get tougher from here.