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Ron Artest's performance against 76ers suggest his foot injuries are improving

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The only theory could've been the shoes. 

Or so at least that's what Lakers Coach Phil Jackson suggested, jokingly or not, for the reason why Lakers forward Ron Artest had developed plantar fasciitis in both of his feet. Artest had done little this week to add to the story, other than saying on Twitter that Peak, the Chinese shoe company that endorses him, isn't the guilty party. 

Other than that, Artest refused to acknowledge any sort of injuries, whether it be his feet, his injured right index finger or any symptoms that still lingered from the Christmas night concussion. Knowing Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is playing through a fractured right index finger, an injured pinky, elbow and now an ankle, well the man has a point. 

But his 18-point effort on seven of 13 shooting in the Lakers' 99-91 victory Friday over the Philadelphia 76ers only brought to question why performances like these were so rare this past month. It was his feet, an injury he told reporters afterwards he hadn't treated properly this past offseason. He played through two torn ligaments last season with Houston, and the pain eventually affected the bottom of his feet.

That's since been treated, Artest told the media he's felt better  since Sunday's game against Toronto. Nonetheless, Artest's performance against Philadelphia resulted in his highest offensive effort this whole month. That, coupled with a defensive presence that carried over from Wednesday's win against Indiana, shows Artest has moved on from the injuries that previously slowed him down.

Artest is far from mastering the triangle offense; there were numerous instances against Philadelphia where he stood idly on the perimeter. And his three pointer from the top of the key that gave the Lakers a 91-80 lead with 3:03 remaining was really just the result of Lamar Odom kicking out of a double team. But there were numerous plays that illustrated Artest's aggressiveness and defensive mastery kicking in, resulting in 76ers forward Andre Iguodala hoisting only seven shots and committing five turnovers. 

The effort was possible because of his healing feet, even if it required Artest to return to the locker room and miss the second quarter until the 5:03 mark after feeling tightened up. 

1st quarter, 11:41

From the top of the key, Philadelphia guard Allen Iverson drives right as Iguodala cuts to the left before dropping back behind the three-point line on the left side. Iverson's drive catches Lakers guard Derek Fisher off guard, prompting Artest to stay put near the free-throw line to help. Iverson crosses over with his left hand, drives inside and then tries to pitch out to Iguodala. 

Because he's positioned squarely between Iverson and Iguodala, Artest intercepts the pass and leads the break. Referees whistle Philly guard and former UCLA product Jrue Holiday for goal-tending on Artest's layup attempt, a play that also drew a foul on Iguodala. Artest's three-point play gives the Lakers a 3-0 lead. 

1st quarter, 8:34

While Fisher brings the ball up the floor, Artest cuts from the right wing to the right block. From the top of the key, Fisher passes to Artest, who catches the ball just above the free-throw line in triple-threat position against Iguodola. Artest immediately drives left for the left-handed layup. With the Lakers trailing 6-5, Artest has scored all the team's points thus far. 

1st quarter, 6:54

Artest inbounds the ball from the far right side of the court to the Lakers Andrew Bynum just above the far wing. Artest cuts to the far corner behind the three-point line, and gets a pass from Bynum. He goes one-on-one against Iguodala, dribbles between his legs, crosses left and then drives in for the left-handed layup. That tied the score at 8-8. 

2nd quarter :51

Bynum's block on 76ers forward Thaddeus Young nearly went out of bounds by the near side of the court. But Artest raced after the ball, passing it between his legs to Gasol. He threw an outlet pass to Bryant, who jumped in mid-air by the right block and passed behind his shoulder to Bynum. He drew a foul on Iguodala and converted on both free throws for the 49-40 lead with 44.6 seconds remaining. 

3rd quarter, 11:19

The only explanation for the following play is that it's Ron Artest. Phiadelphia forward Elton Brand set a screen on him, allowing Iguodala to cut left inside before Lakers forward Pau Gasol switched. Artest rolls around Brand to pursue Iguodala, but within a split second of recognizing Gasol's switch and Brand receiving the ball from Iverson, Artest faces Brand straight up near the top of the key. Brand dribbles right, posts up against Artest and switches to his left hand. As he attempts to drive left, Artest swipes the ball away and picks it up. His wide open layup rims out, but Artest is there for the putback, giving the Lakers a 55-42 lead. 

4th quarter, 3:36 - 3:29

Iguodala grabs a long rebound off Bryant's missed three-pointer and looks for an open drive against Fisher in the paint. But Bryant cuts in from the left side to stop him from driving left, while Artest races back and nearly forces a turnover as Iguodala crosses over to his right. Artest forces Iguodala to pick up his dribble and settle for a pass to Iverson, who is then fouled by Bryant. Artest's defensive stop prevents Philadelphia from cutting into the Lakers' 88-80 lead. 

4th quarter, 2:30 - 2:16

After Artest misses an open three-pointer from the top of the key, Young can't hold on to the loose ball. Artest approaches him just above the circle and swipes the ball, which bounces off the backboard into Bryant's hands. He feeds the ball inside to Artest, who makes a quick past to his left to Gasol. He misses on the lay in, but makes the putback for a 93-82 lead. 

--Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Lakers forward Ron Artest tosses the ball back to the court between his legs after chasing down a loose ball near the sideline in the first half Friday night. Credit: Matt Slocum / Associated Press

 
Comments () | Archives (20)

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I'm starting to think that Ron's feet are the key to a repeat. If he's healthy than the swap for Trevor is an upgrade. If he's not, than our perimeter D could be a lot worse than last year.
OT: Pound the Celtics.

If RonRon's such a big Kobe supporter that he'll pop in the shower after Kobe's Finals loss, why won't he wear his shoes? Maybe they'll fit his feet better.

Good Morning Charles...Good Morning Everyone...

taking care o' business, as it were, seemingly...

we will need to bring more focus for Sunday's game, hopefully we play and execute our game to the best of our abilities--isn't that our collective dream for every game?

the 76ers should be better than they are--but they don't seem to have a scheme or a plan on offense to utilize who they have, bummer for them...

maybe if they changed their name from the 76ers to the 69ers they would be more interesting or so...

of course, I am still trying to figure out exactly what a 76er is, and yes I get the Revolutionary war / birth of our country thing--but I am hoping it has a better, deeper, hidden meaning, as it were...

now I wouldn't have much trouble decyphering the better, deeper, hidden meaning behind the 69ers nominclature, seemingly...

let's start a Bynum does not dress for Monday's game---I would gladly be the driver for that one, with my foot on the gas and the top down...

"found my way upstairs and had a smoke, someone spoke and I went into a dream"

"it's The Bishop!"

AS ALWAYS, AS EVER, YET ANOTHER GREAT DAY (AND CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON) TO BE A LAKER FAN !!!

GO LAKERS !!!


Takin' and makin' crunch time shots awhile reducing Iggy to below average all night is a bit more of what we've been expecting from a guy that has carried teams for stretches.

Ron hasn't been all that he can be yet, but as the vets round into form for the home stretch, hopefully we'll see the Thriller we signed up for.

And P Pierce's house would be a good place to continue his East Coast rampage.

On the Hinrich trade, Jon K raised it up before: what’s in it for the Bulls?
-
Captain Kirk was moved back to the Bulls starting lineup around Christmas and the backcourt duo of Rose and Hinrich has been doing well. The Bulls have been 13-5 since the move, compared to 10-17 when Hinrich was on the bench. They are currently enjoying a 5-game winning streak and have moved up to 7th place in the Eastern Conference standings.
-
But we expect them to break up that backcourt tandem (and winning momentum) and trade Hinrich for Ammo and Sasha, just because some smart people on this blog think it’s good for the Lakers? Again, what’s in it for the Bulls? It takes two to tango.

Nice detailed post on RonRon, MM. It was great to see him finally come alive and show the kind of aggressiveness, movement, and overall contribution that got most of us excited by his becoming a Laker. I think he's more of a key for us than Bynum against the Celts and the Cavs. If he can put sustained pressure on Pierce and LBJ, it greatly relieves pressure (and limits fouls) on Kobe and our bigs. The Sunday showdown with the Celts should give us a pretty good indication if he's back all the way yet or still has a way to go. I love his attitude though, no matter what.

I'm starting to think that Ron's feet are the key to a repeat. If he's healthy than the swap for Trevor is an upgrade. If he's not, than our perimeter D could be a lot worse than last year.
OT: Pound the Celtics.

Posted by: Mark G | January 30, 2010 at 09:05 AM
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I am reminded of the 3-peat era, when the chances of a repeat depended on the health of Shaq's big toe. 8)

Mark G.,

"I'm starting to think that Ron's feet are the key to a repeat."

I've thought the same thing.

Feet injuries HURT and supposedly Thriller's foot injury REALLY HURTS.

He hasn't been given a lot of credit for that fact.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

floyd,

"of course, I am still trying to figure out exactly what a 76er is, and yes I get the Revolutionary war / birth of our country thing--but I am hoping it has a better, deeper, hidden meaning, as it were..."

The truth of the matter is that the name "The 76ers" refers to a tragic 1937 incident in Philadelphia when 76 residents of the City of Brotherly Love died in a Philly Cheese Steak eating competition. Their passion for victory and their love for meat covered in cheez-whiz was so profound that all 76 members of the competition engorged themselves relentlessly on Philly Cheese Steak sandwhiches to the point where all 76 contestants ruptured their stomaches and small intestines and died of agonizing internal bleeding.

In fact, this competition was SO intense that even as members of the 76 died all around them, the group continued to engorge themselves until the last two contestants (I believe their names were Daryl C. Iverson and Dr. Julio Earving III) continued onwards until they both died simultaneously of ruptured internal organs AND choking to death on bread slathered in cheez-whiz.

It is that indomnitable, competitive spirit towards unyielding gluttony and self-destruction that TO THIS VERY DAY defines the spirit of the citizens of fair Philadelphia and the grandeur of the Philadelphia 76ers basketball program.

I hope you learned something today.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!!

The Snake,

"I am reminded of the 3-peat era, when the chances of a repeat depended on the health of Shaq's big toe. 8)"

Shaq sure was a baby about the injury. I don't doubt that it hurt, but, man, he blew that injury out of proportion.

I don't quite understand the mechanisms for this, but it often seems that really big guys are a lot more sensitive to pain than "normal" sized people. I think on some level they just psychologically aren't as prepared to process pain because they are used to the potential of being able to dispense pain to others as opposed to receiving pain from others/their environment. So, when they get hurt, it just doesn't seem "fair" to them and they are unable to manage their internal response to the stimuli... ergo becoming a big baby like Shaq.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!!

LeBron James having a temper tantrum:

http://tinyurl.com/yc5jy65

Watch the slo-mo, he clearly travels.

He does this ALL THE TIME. Literally (not figuratively, literally) four to twelve times a game. He is NEVER called for it. (Well, once every 10 games, maybe, so once every roughly 80 times he travels.)

Ridiculous.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!!

@ Jon K., he is a tough Mofo. I can't even imagine playing BBall with bad feet. A sprained ankle is one thing, plantar f. is a whole different animal.
PS: Don't let the negativity get you down. For whatever reason people have the need to blame/scapegoat. It's not something that is subject logic and reason. It's just in our human nature.

From the LA Times article - http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-lakers-fyi30-2010jan30,0,3420452.story

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson, an avowed detractor of All-Star weekend, didn't seem concerned that Bynum was not an All-Star.

"When I mentioned it to him and told him he'd avoided that rat race over there, he laughed and said, 'Well, maybe next year,' " Jackson said. "He would have liked to have been recognized and I understand that entirely. We're extremely pleased with how Andrew plays. We think he's got a lot of room for improvement, but he's come a long way."

If Phil is fine with Bynum, then why are people clamoring about trading him? Phil acknowledged that he needs to continue to work, but that he is much improved from when he was first drafted.

So what gives?

more thoughts or so, seemingly....

so I was watching the game last night and had one of those epiphany thangs...

why does everybody give and hence get high 5's when they miss a free throw?

if it's for a "good try", I say BS ! it wasn't a "good try" because you ficking missed...

if it's to show your teammate that you still support him even though he just bricked a free throw, I say BS ! it just encourages them to keep fricking missing...

I think a more appropriate response from teammates when you miss a fricking free throw would be a light to moderate slap on the back of the head (light to moderate depending on the situation etc.---even though as I have said many times a free throw missed (or made) in the first seconds of the game is just as important as in the last seconds)...

a head slap augmented with a kick in the butt would be another option...

maybe nuggies and or Indian burns in the locker room after the game would work as well...

maybe a wedgie or two---or how about a twirlie?---maybe some Bengay in the ole jock strap?

point being, giving high 5's like you actually did something positive, like actually making a fricking free throw for example, seems extremely counterproductive to me...

and it goes without saying that when the other team misses their fricking free throws, our team should give them high 5's...

so I call for the Lakers to implement this new program of reward and punishment as soon as possible...before anyone misses any more fricking free throws...high 5 !

Jon K. thanks for the history lesson on the 76er moniker...

GO LAKERS !!!

Great job by Fish on AI last night. It was good that he was wearing his DFish signature Cement shoes on defense. I'm glad Jackson is sticking with Fish,
we will need him for the big shot he will make in the NBA finals. No need to move up the minutes of Farmar and Shannon Brown, we can wait 5 years for Fish to decide when he wants to retire. He has made 3 big shots in his 14 year career so he deserves that type of honor and respect !!

EVEN KOBE AGREES THAT ZONE DEFENSE IS CRAPPY AND THAT OLD SCHOOL DEFENSE IS *BETTER*
--------------------------------------------
PHILADELPHIA -- When the Boston Celtics host the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday things are bound to get a little physical between the two bitter rivals who have combined to win 32 of the 62 titles in NBA history.

That's quite all right with Kobe Bryant. He'd like to raise the stakes and increase the contact.

"I'm old-school," Bryant said after scoring 22 of his 24 points in the second half of the Lakers' 99-91 win at Philadelphia on Friday.

"I'd like for us to go back to the old rules," Bryant said. "Get rid of the 'crutch defense,' known as the zone defense, and have guys guard man-to-man and stuff like that [and allow] hand checking and all that. I think that's better basketball."

The league started to allow zone defense at the beginning of the 2001-02 season. Before then, if a player attempted to guard a space on the floor rather than another player, the team would be whistled for illegal defense. The offending team would receive a warning from the officials for the first instance of illegal defense and would be charged with a technical foul for each subsequent violation.

Hand checking first became outlawed at the start of the 1994-95 season and shortly thereafter, in 1997-98, defenders became prohibited from using their forearms to guard against players facing the basket. In 1999-2000, the league eliminated all contact by a defender with his hands and forearms both in the backcourt and frontcourt, except on offensive players who caught the ball below the free-throw line extended."

http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/news/story?id=4871616

------------------------------------

So can the "advanced defenses" idea be thrown out the window now?

Hand checking should have never been taken out of the NBA. You can hardly even defend players 1 on 1 aggressively, without a foul being called. Only those with great athletic quickness guard anyone one on one (even Kobe gets more burned at times than he did back in 2000). Complain about Fisher/Farmar being burned? Put back hand checking then we'll see how they do.

Guys a new post is up

MM

KB Blitz,

I agree with you on defense. Present rules turn the game into a foul-fest (unless of course you are LeBron James travelling with the ball).

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

Jon K,

The reason why the 76-ers got that name, is that real??

About that cheese-steak competition?? wow!!

-Rafi

LOL @Jon.K ... Bravo for that 'history' lesson!!

LGFI


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