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Artest on Rondo push: ‘Did what he had to do’

06.14.10 at 1:59 am ET

Rajon Rondo received a technical foul at the 4:42 mark of the second quarter of Game 5 for pushing Ron Artest following a hard foul from the Lakers forward to Kevin Garnett. Artest, though, had no problem with Rondo when asked about the altercation in a postgame interview.

“That’s his teammate, his teammate hit the floor,” Artest said. “And he didn’t like it. He did what he had to do. Part of the game, I don’t care. He pushed me, I’m not going to push him back. I gave a hard foul, he pushed me, the ref called a tech. Next possession, you know? Move on.”

Rondo was asked the incident in his postgame press conference.

“Pretty self-explanatory,” Rondo said. “I felt that Artest pushed Kevin. It wasn’t just a regular foul, and we weren’t going anywhere, so in Kevin’s defense I pushed him back.”

Artest nearly fell down following the shove, which ABC color analyst Jeff Van Gundy found hard to believe, given the size difference between the two players.

“Oh, he didn’t even shove him,” Van Gundy said while watching the replay. “Oh, come on. He didn’t push him, he put his hand on him. This is another sell job. This guy [Rondo] weighs 112 pounds, and Artest weighs 280 pounds.”

Rondo was asked if he felt that Artest had “flopped” on the push.

“I’m not that strong,” Rondo said. “He sold it a little bit. He’s probably the strongest guy on the court in this series. I’ve been lifting a little bit, but other than that I didn’t push him that hard.”

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