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Dwyane Wade’s low blow feels clean by comparison

Lakers forward MettWorld Peace (right) OklahomCity Thunder guard James Harden recipient one his elbows. | Sue Ogrocki~AP

Lakers forward Metta World Peace (right) and Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden, a recipient of one of his elbows. | Sue Ogrocki~AP

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Updated: January 31, 2013 6:42AM



The going rate for a kick to the groin in the NBA these days is one game.

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade will serve that gladly and move on. But his reputation is really taking a hit in the court of public opinion since his suspension was announced Thursday.

‘‘I’m far from being a dirty player + my intent was never 2 kick Ramon Sessions,’’ Wade tweeted, pleading his case after he threw a leg into the groin area of the Charlotte Bobcats guard in a Heat victory Wednesday night.

Was it a dirty play? Somewhat. The impacted area — whether there was intent or not — broke Man Code Rule No. 1: Never attack the genital area on another man. That also happens to be Rule No. 2 and Rule No. 3.

Does it make Wade a dirty player? Absolutely not — especially in a league filled with players who’d consider a kick to the groin area just another night at the office.

You want dirty players? Here’s your top five, with some bordering on filthy:

1. Metta World Peace, Los Angeles Lakers forward. The artist formally known as Ron Artest was the centerpiece of the ‘‘Malice in the Palace” involving players and fans in Detroit in November 2004. But his elbow to James Harden last season was the ultimate in sewer dirty, showing that while the name can change, the man can’t.

2. Reggie Evans, Brooklyn Nets forward. What Evans, then with the Denver Nuggets, did to Chris Kaman in the 2006 playoffs was egregious in every way possible. He reached from behind and pulled Kaman’s man parts. Never even asked him out for dinner.

3. Kurt Thomas, New York Knicks forward. The veteran will tell you he just plays hard. But his frequent elbows in the paint, as well as his love of contact on guards who dare to try to get to the rim, scream ‘‘dirty.’’

4. Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves forward. For the first few years of his career, Love was described as ‘‘scrappy.’’ That’s how most dirty-players-in-the-making begin. Ask Luis Scola if Love is “scrappy’’ after the Timberwolves All-Star wiped his shoes on Scola’s face last season.

5. Anderson Varejao, Cleveland Cavaliers center. Don’t let the Sideshow Bob hairdo fool you — Varejao is a master of disguising dirty as just a hard foul. YouTube some of Varejao’s work playing in Brazil, then pass judgment.

† Last week I wrote that Nets guard Deron Williams is slowly adding “coach killer’’ to his résumé. We can take the ‘‘slowly’’ part out now.

† The Philadelphia 76ers are frantically trying to add point guard play. Hello, Nate Robinson?

Player of the week

LeBron James, Heat forward He could, and should, win this honor every week, but hanging up 29 points, eight rebounds and nine assists on Kevin Durant on and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Christmas, then 27, 12 and eight against the Bobcats is just not fair.

Team of the week

Los Angeles Clippers. They’re the best team in the Western Conference and the most entertaining.

The Big Five

1. Heat. 2. Clippers. 3. Thunder. 4. San Antonio Spurs. 5. Knicks.

Big number

10 The number of points the Boston Celtics scored in the fourth quarter against the Clippers, who won by 29 points for their 15th straight victory Thursday.

Key games

Clippers at Nuggets, 8 p.m. Tuesday: The Clippers took it to the Nuggets on Christmas Night, but now the venue is Denver, and don’t sleep on what coach George Karl can cook up.

Spurs at Knicks, 6:30 p.m. Thursday: A great early January match-up, unless, of course, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich decides to rest his star players again. Get the fines ready.

Lakers at Clippers, 9:30 p.m. Jan. 4: The battle for Los Angeles rages on, but it’s the Lakers who are now playing the role of stepchild.



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