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Breaking down Ron Artest's defensive performance in Lakers' 95-89 victory over the Denver Nuggets

Lakers forward Ron Artest has a simple rule that he follows. It's one that sounds easy. But it is actually difficult when you account the evolving emotions and rhythms of a game as well as the grind of an 82-game regular season.

That concept involves how to maintain the proper focus for every game, and block out positive and negative thoughts regarding past or future performances. This tactic isn't simply focusing on one game, moving past it and focusing on the next one. It's much more specific.

"It goes by possession," Artest said Monday after practice at the Lakers' facility in El Segundo. "You play the next possession. You might have five, 10 bad possessions. Then you might have 10 good possessions. They could be the last five possessions of a game like today and then the next five possessions of a game like tomorrow. You just go possession by possession and it’ll work itself out. You prepare for your whole life and practice so long. It’s not really about the game. If you play hard every possession, you’ll be fine." 

It was fitting then that Artest refused to reflect on his strong defensive performance in Sunday's 95-89 victory over the Denver Nuggets where he kept Carmelo Anthony in check, limiting him to 21 points on seven of 19 shooting, swiping a season-high six steals and also scoring 17 points. It is because of Artest's refusal to focus on anything but the present that ensured him to have that lockdown performance, and it's the very reason why the Lakers signed him this offseason.

It doesn't matter that Artest doesn't appear to dissect scouting reports. When he was asked about the Lakers' upcoming game against the Indiana Pacers, Artest responded in a matter-of-fact tone, "What's their lineup? I don't even know it." It doesn't matter to Artest that the Pacers (20-39) feature Danny Granger, Brandon Rush, Troy Murphy, T.J. Ford and Earl Watson, and it's not just because of their record. It's because Artest has tried abiding by a simple philosophy.

"As long as you play every possession hard," Artest said, "you just move onto the next game without any problems."

Artest's performance came at the right time as Denver showcased its physical and gritty reputation, something that clearly frustrated the Lakers in the first half. The tides changed though in the second half, and it was something that Artest's defense initiated. Below is a breakdown about how that unfolded in the second half: 

3rd quarter, 10:06 - 9:50

After Anthony's passed to Nene up top, Melo cut down into the paint and rolled off a back screen set by Chauncey Billups at the right block. Artest cut right through the pick and continued to mark Anthony. Nene passed to guard Arron Afflalo as Melo cut along the baseline and tried posting up on Artest, who didn't allow Melo to get comfortable positioning. Instead Affalo moved further out of the perimeter, while Anthony moved behind the three-point line. Artest swiped Affalo's pass, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant quickly picked up the ball and hoisted a pass to Artest. He picked it up for a wide-open fast break dunk, cutting Denver's lead to 52-49, capping a 6-0 run to open the third quarter. 

3rd quarter, 9:41 - 9:21

While Nene had the ball outside the perimeter, Artest marked Anthony with zero room to penetrate. Anthony slighty pushed off Artest and cut right behind Nene, who dumped the ball off to Anthony and set a high screen on Artest up top. Artest bulldozed through Nene and continued to mark on Anthony. He dribbled right and pulled up for 14-foot jumper, but it hit the back rim. Nene grabbed the board and passed the ball  p top to Billups, who immediately set up Anthony as he posted up on Artest just ahead of the three-point line. After Artest gave Anthony space to drive left, Anthony took the bait, Gasol moved on help defense and Artest slid in to draw a jump ball. 

3rd quarter, 4:57 - 4:46

With both Anthony and Artest out of the perimeter on the far side, Anthony squared up on Artest, jabbed right twice and then drove left. But Artest immediately swiped the ball away. 

3rd quarter, :44 - :37

Nuggets forward Chris "Birdman" Anderson set a screen on Artest at the top of the key, but Artest fit in the space between Anthony and Anderson as Anthony dribbled on the right side of the perimeter. Anderson se a screen again on Artest's right side, and instead of sliding through, Artest swiped at the ball and it landed in Gasol's hands. 

4th quarter, 2:13 - 2:16

While Billups manned the point up top, Anthony cut to the left block and shouldered into Artest. The contact was actually pretty minimal, but Artest sold the contact and the referees called Anthony for his sixth foul. The Lakers led 93-89 at the time. 

Those plays weren't the only ones Artest made against Anthony. There was the whole first half after all, which included plays that may have resulted in baskets but clearly still disrupted Anthony's confidence. For the full compilation, check out this assembled clip.

Of course, Artest has also experienced growing pains with the Lakers. His concussion on Christmas night sidelined him for five games, exacerbating his learning curve in mastering the triangle offense. His plantar fasciitis in both feet also had contributed to his inconsistency on defense. That being said, Artest's recent performance isn't a complete revelation. He's locked down on players such as Boston's Paul Pierce and Golden State's Corey Maggette.

Artest's latest performance just provided a more vivid sign of why he has proved himself as a valuable member of the Lakers, something that's been aided recently by a revamped diet. And the team has surely taken notice. 

--Mark Medina

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

 
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technically, i suppose if LBJ really wanted to have the best chance to win the most titles, he could just sign with LA for the minimum next year. No muss, no fuss.

yeah, that would be a stretch, huh.

I've been on this game in Staple Center. Denver really can surprised but not today because Kobe rocks. Birdman forced me smiling a lot.

I think something that got lost in the conversation about whether Artest represents an upgrade over Ariza is the basic style of defense they play.

I think what makes Ariza effective (on both sides of the ball) is his overall activity level. He flies around the rim on offense, and on defense he takes a lot of risks in order to create steal opportunities. More often than not he put himself out of position if the attempt didn't work.

My impression so far this season is that while Artest's defense isn't as situationally impressive as Ariza's frequently was... the lockdown, preventative style he plays is much more sound. Denying position as opposed to relying on quickness to create the steal.

Another excellent blog entry Mark, really enjoying your work here on the Lakers Blog!

I love Artest's philosophy, 'possession by possession'. Frankly, he is really selfless, that is the only quality I didn't know about and was concerned with coming to the Lakers. We all saw him dominate offensive possessions during the Lakers/Rockets playoff series last season, I really thought he had a more dominating, demanding nature.

He has proven to be about as selfless and team-oriented as Lamar is - and that is saying something! He hasn't missed a beat, other players would get down on themselves if they had a poor shooting game, for instance. Ron Ron never seems to be down, he has one of the most even-keel demeanor's I've seen.

I can't stress enough what a GREAT pickup he has been! Look, I wish all the best for Trevor, but outside of a hot start he has really struggled, and he's been injured and in-and-out of the lineup in Houston. Artest has done nothing but improve with each passing game, getting more familiar with the offense and doing his usual excellent work on the defensive end. He and Kobe have a great vibe. I just KNOW that he has Kobe's back - everyone's back! The way he literally 'manhandles' players, even physical ones like Carmelo, Pierce and LeBron, that will be HUGE come playoff time.

Another thing that is amazing about Ron Ron is how hard he trains and works! He is always exercising, taking care of his body, doing whatever he needs to do to stay in shape and improve his fitness and game. He's probably the strongest player the Lakers have had since Karl Malone, actually more of a physical 'enforcer' like Maurice Lucas. The Lakers have needed someone like him, a physical 'Charles Oakley' type for years and it's nice that they finally got him.

But to think that he signed a 5-year deal, he's going to be one of the cornerstones in this dynasty, well that brings a smile to my face!

RON RON WE LOVE YA!!!

Umm, just realized I said Artest manhandles physical players like Pierce, that would be handy come playoff time. Well, unless the Celtics start beating the Nets of the NBA world, that is one matchup we'll never be seeing in the playoffs. My bad...

I always liked Artest because of that -fundamentally-.That's the best way to aproach any game -and life too-. You can't be frustrated because of the past, but you are always ready for the future. Hopefully the people in my country can learn some of that philosophy. That is very needed around this parts.

GO LAKERS!!!
GO CHILE!!!


Ron's hungry. He's got the kind of hunger that can pick up vets that have last year's ring and make 'em play with more fire.

He and LO are bringin' it and it's catching. I'm sensin' a win streak on the horizon.

Ron's improving play is terrific to watch. But there's something else. Remember all the talk centered about his personality, how he'd fit in? This was debated for years before he arrived and once he finally signed, there were a lot more questions. And, given the past, the questions were understandable. The guy's been nothing but a team player though, has everyone's back and they have his. It's awesome.

I LOVE the fire that Thriller's playing with. During the post-game analysis, they zoomed in on his eyes when guarding Mela - watching where the pass was going to be thrown - and sure enough RonRon gets the steal. FOCUS. I nope a LOT of that rubs off on the rest of our guys. No more playing lackadaisacal.... ok who are we kidding?? LOL! Tha Show are who they are - a team built for focus during the REAL season - the playoffs. Still - bring a little more of that every game from here on out and we end up with home court throughout - you heard it here first!


MrNano - hope you and your family are all ok. My prayers are with your countrymen....

justanothermambafan,

"I LOVE the fire that Thriller's playing with."

We all should.

He is the key to our Championship this year.

Seriously, when playoffs come, it's all about Thriller.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

I just don't understand those who whined about the Ron-for-Ariza deal (well, not an actual trade but same result). I know Trevor is a local guy and he's got lot of local support but let's think about it objectively for a minute.

Ariza's strength is in his speed. Ron's in his strength. As some posters liked to point out, Trevor's D has some element of gambling in it. Sometimes he got lucky and looked great as a result but Ron's more steady and consistent. There is a reason Ron has consistently been mentioned as worthy on the NBA All-Defense team and actually won the Defensive Player of the year award once. Ron came with lot and lot of experience as well as PO toughness. Not so much Ariza.

OK, even if we can debate about the merit of Ron vs. Trevor IMO that only applies to the regular season. For the PO where games tend to be a lot more slow paced, physical and intense Ron's style is CLEARLY more useful to the team. There would have been NO WAY that Trevor Ariza could have manhandled Carmelo in last night's game the way Artest did.

Has everyone forgotten the LAL vs. Houston playoff series last year? I still remember vividly the 1-on-1 match between Ariza and Artest. Artest clearly dominated Ariza physically. Ariza just could not keep Artest out of the paint to keep him from offensive rebounds.

I just don't understand what more some people wanted out of Artest? Before coming to LA, it was feared that he would be a cancer and a head case. Far from it, he turned out to be a model teammate -to a fault actually. He's also lived up, or close to it, his reputation for defensive prowess in spite of various health problems. And as a bonus, Artest surprisedly turned out to be the Lakers' top 3-pt shooter. Imagine that, on a team with shooters such as Kobe, Fish, Vujacic, Farmar, Brown... it is actually rough-and-tough Ron Ron who is the most consistent long-range threat for LA.

I just don't understand some people.

I love watching Kobe and Phil talk.

They are both remarkably intelligent people. I love that. They know their game.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

MrNano (the earthquaked),

Are you okay?

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Hey blog family,

I'll be off the grid for a few days, so I may not be around for the next few game chats unless I can get my Cover It Live app to work on my Blackberry. Either way, I'll be there in spirit. Go Lakers!

dave m,

"The guy's been nothing but a team player though, has everyone's back and they have his. It's awesome."

I agree and I must apologize to Laker Nation and Thriller.

I was one of the strongest voices against Thriller becoming a Laker.

I called him a "cancer." I called him a "lunatic." I called him all kinds of things.

I was wrong and I am sorry.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Artest got an unfair rep as a ball hog in the playoffs last year after Yao went down. Honestly, though, who else would the Rockets go-to guy be? Shane "That Blind Side guy said I'm a Kobe stopper!" Battier?

RonRon knows his place with the Lakers. The funniest possession yesterday though was early in the game when RonRon was holding the ball on the perimeter for like 5 seconds, trying to find someone to pass it too, and NO Nuggets player even ran up to defend him! He finally shot and buried the three. Sometimes it seems like Artest is almost trying TOO hard to prove he's a team player. If he can consistently bury the three when wide open like Ariza last year, he'll be fine.

Watching Thriller's interview, he feels like he's under siege. He's played a good game and he knows it but he doesn't want to rest on that. All these questions distract him and he knows there is something bigger. He's girding himself.

He's our guy. He's going to do it for us.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Go Rick Friedman!

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

MARK M… You’re ambitious, ambidextrous, and prodigious. It’s taken me until right now just to catch up with the threads and comments, not to mention the many links. I know you guys need new links to pump the hits but I’m starting to worry about what is going to happen during the playoffs. It’s possible I might actually fall behind a DVR-ed game or two. LOL.
-
By the way, I love the new setup. The only thing you need to add is your one sentence take on each of the links so we can pick and chose to which to jump - We really want your take. But man, I have to commend the suits at the Times for picking the right guy for the job. From one of the original KamBros fans, I think you are doing a spectacular job with the blog.
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THE OUTLAW… “"If our seriously talented, athletically-gifted, intelligent, gigantic 7-footer would simply focus on playing hard D, denying shots at the rim, and hustling like his ass was on fire, we could sweep our way through the playoffs and celebrate one of the best Laker squads ever… And you know what's crazy? I think it's going to happen. That's right, LakerTom. I said it.
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LMAO, Outlaw. I am sure once Drew fully recovers physically and mentally from his two injuries, he will become the player that most of us envision. I thought he played some good defense in the first half but still seems to wear down and get ignored in the second half. He made a couple of excellent back-to-back offensive moves in our first comeback but then was basically ignored and benched except for the message minutes to Pau that Phil game him.
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Right now, all I want is for Drew to finish the year healthy while slowly improving. If we get lucky and get the Beast back for the playoffs, that would be a bonus and we would dominate. This year, all we need is for Drew to pick up his game a little and be more consistent. Next year, I predict will finally be the year that Drew breaks out as an All-Star and the Beast.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
AZTRONUT… Your terrific game reviews are getting better and better and your original takes sparkle with crisp prose and unique observations. Many thanks for highlighting the positive contributions that Drew, Fish, and other players on the team made. Toughness on the court is not backing down against the bullies and muggers – same as toughness in the blog.
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I remember a troll once accusing you of being my second blog name or clone. LOL. As if I could suddenly become 30 years younger, much more vibrant, and a more balanced objective writer overnight. You have my apologies. By trying to insult me, that clone insulted you. I’m looking forward to enjoying many Laker championships with you in the years to come.
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CYBERCOSMIX… Just great stuff, Mike! I love the passion and brightness of your writing. While I don’t always agree 100% with your takes, you always make a point that registers in my mind and influences me. For example, I love Roland Lazenby. Not only is he a great writer, but he always resp0nds to emails and occasionally posts on the blog but I agree with your take that Roland is just priming the pump for his new Jerry West book. No LBJ.
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MAMBA24… Congratulations on winning the initial Blogger Post of the Day. Mark M could not have made a more appropriate pick. Your tireless enthusiasm, inspired cheerleading, and one and only Game Day Roll Calls are a major component of the infrastructure that has been created by we bloggers that makes the LA Times Lakers Blog such a vibrant community.
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Please add me to the Appreciate Ron Bandwagon. And make sure my name is never associated with the Bring the Crab to LA Bandwagon. I’m with Yellofinger on this one. Call me a Kobe homer but I just don’t like LeBron and would hate to see him in purple and gold.
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TOM

Also I think whenever Artest shuts somebody down, instead of Thriller we should honor him with the moniker of SMOOTH CRIMINAL.

'Melo, you've just been hit by, been struck down by a SMOOTH CRIMINAL!

Rick - We'll definitely miss you during your absence. Good luck with the blackberry man

MM

"I called him a "cancer." I called him a "lunatic." I called him all kinds of things.

I was wrong and I am sorry."

Jon K,

If you really are sorry then say the Clippers suck today thing hehe. I know it has nothing to do with it but still you were wrong about Ron Ron so what great way than to say it with me just ONCE? Please? :)

Jon K: It's not like Artest hadn't done things in his past that led for worry and concern bringing him aboard. I for one saw that Laker fans didn't want to spoil a championship-winning team bringing in a 'wild-card'. Laker fans, those that REALLY love the team would be concerned about bringing in someone with the past of Artest.

The great thing is his game has reassured ALL Laker fans, even those that didn't state their concerns, even though I'm sure deep-down everyone had them. Artest has come in trying to fit in, trying to learn the offense, trying to be a good teammate, and working hard at each of those things. He has been nothing but a good person, visits a counselor to help keep him straight and continues to do and say the right things. He hasn't let his early struggles keep him down, he goes 100% every second he's on the floor and never lets up.

Perhaps some won't go so far as to admit it, but he's been a great addition and has been nothing less than a great teammate and as level-headed as anyone could have hoped for him being. Even the most adamant and blind Laker rah-rah's would have to have had a bit of trepidation. Some of us love the Lakers and still 'keep it real' - much like Chick used to do. I'm just glad that Artest HAS proven to each and every one of us that he is trying to do the right thing and fit in as best he can...

The Celtics are interested in Finley? Are you serious?

Is there now a minimum age requirement to be in that team? Like around 35?

"During the post-game analysis, they zoomed in on his eyes when guarding Mela - watching where the pass was going to be thrown - and sure enough RonRon gets the steal. FOCUS.".......

Posted by: justanothermambafan | March 01, 2010 at 07:04 PM

j-mfan....I noticed that as well in the replays, their bodies were smacking against each other but Ron was so focused his eyes were locked....I can't recall another player with so much focus, concentration.....


Oh yeah, I forgot to give props to Josh Powell who I thought came in and showed some solid play for the few minutes he got.

KB Blitz,

No.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

It is just one game, he needs to keep this up. specially in the playoffs and i believe he will thats why hes a Laker!

CyberCosmiX,

The thing is, believe it or not, is that I hate drama. I hate that the Lakers organization brings a lot of drama on itself. It's not healthy.

I feared (irrationally) that Thriller would drive us into drama AGAIN.

I was wrong. Thriller will be a Great Laker. He already is.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

"RonRon knows his place with the Lakers. The funniest possession yesterday though was early in the game when RonRon was holding the ball on the perimeter for like 5 seconds, trying to find someone to pass it too, and NO Nuggets player even ran up to defend him! He finally shot and buried the three. Sometimes it seems like Artest is almost trying TOO hard to prove he's a team player. If he can consistently bury the three when wide open like Ariza last year, he'll be fine.

Posted by: Scott | March 01, 2010 at 07:37 PM"

There was even a better bit of action that I think I saw, in the first half, play came to a stop, Artest had the ball at the far sideline, and a Nugget player was still hastling, so Artest just held onto the ball with both hands and started swing the ball as close as he could to the guys head, the ref stepped in right away...but it's just a message, do not "f" around like that......He coulda just swiped the guys face with the ball but probably would have gotten "The Stern Rulea", a $25,000 fine and with his past history a one or 2 game suspension.

I just don't understand those who whined about the Ron-for-Ariza deal (well, not an actual trade but same result). I know Trevor is a local guy and he's got lot of local support but let's think about it objectively for a minute.

Ariza's strength is in his speed. Ron's in his strength. As some posters liked to point out, Trevor's D has some element of gambling in it. Sometimes he got lucky and looked great as a result but Ron's more steady and consistent. There is a reason Ron has consistently been mentioned as worthy on the NBA All-Defense team and actually won the Defensive Player of the year award once. Ron came with lot and lot of experience as well as PO toughness. Not so much Ariza.

OK, even if we can debate about the merit of Ron vs. Trevor IMO that only applies to the regular season. For the PO where games tend to be a lot more slow paced, physical and intense Ron's style is CLEARLY more useful to the team. There would have been NO WAY that Trevor Ariza could have manhandled Carmelo in last night's game the way Artest did.

Has everyone forgotten the LAL vs. Houston playoff series last year? I still remember vividly the 1-on-1 match between Ariza and Artest. Artest clearly dominated Ariza physically. Ariza just could not keep Artest out of the paint to keep him from offensive rebounds.

I just don't understand what more some people wanted out of Artest? Before coming to LA, it was feared that he would be a cancer and a head case. Far from it, he turned out to be a model teammate -to a fault actually. He's also lived up, or close to it, his reputation for defensive prowess in spite of various health problems. And as a bonus, Artest surprisedly turned out to be the Lakers' top 3-pt shooter. Imagine that, on a team with shooters such as Kobe, Fish, Vujacic, Farmar, Brown... it is actually rough-and-tough Ron Ron who is the most consistent long-range threat for LA.

I just don't understand some people.


Posted by: Psycorp | March 01, 2010 at 07:21 PM

===================
You are putting people into two categories. Those as you say whined about the swap and those that supported it. I however belong to a third categor that we do applaud getting Artest and wishing we kept TA. Think TA off the bench for Ron or Kobe and think awesome "D" the whole game.

Fish going to coaching and JF and SB sharing pg position.

I knew RonRon will help the Lakers but it will take sometime to fraternize and learn the triangle of PJ. He is sometimes tentative then comes the injury.

During the time when he was not contributing a little bit slow to catch with his guard or could not jump due to plantar ...., he has been dissed in this blog. In a nutshell, who else is not being dissed in this blog? If Jesus, Confucius or Muhammad are blogging, they would find a problem with them too.

If RonRon didn't get that 6th foul on Melo, and Melo made his shots that resulted to Nuggets victory, I'm sure our impression would be different on RonRon, the hero, he suddenly becomes RonRon, a waste and Ariza is much better player.

As a community, we have a tendency to get into minutiae and micromanage every player or in every game and blow it up to glowing projection that only you can imagine. Projections that are not even authoritative or educated guess but just mere conjectures or phantasm of one's imagination interpreted as facts because this Mr. Big Shot said so. There is thin red line of being a hero or being a goat in this blog. Why not judge them accordingly within the framework of 10 games at least set up a trend?

Then, here comes the Lebron issue either an intrigue or a dream. Mr. Lazenby made up a scenario and everyone blows it up into story of epic proportion. Some accept the idea but financially not feasible because there are many teams that can lure him with a richer contract. One blogger made it a point as his signature yell all about Lebron just to diss Kobe to the hilt. I don't know why a Laker favorite child who gave us 4 Championship and several chances in the Finals and clutch plays deserve such incessant criticism. It is a diametrically opposite on the adulation on a lone player who have not proven himself yet declared as one of the legends to be.

Here is my point, why don't we live we life as they come, never extrapolate nor discount the future events. Why is there no middle ground on all this childish fandom? If Lebron gets aboard so be it, we should be prouder to be a stronger team. If he does not fit financially, that is the reality of professional basketball. Let us learn to love what we have but when opportunity strikes again, don't let it go by. Let us not harbor mediocrity and later feel sorry about ourselves like waiting for Smush and Kwame to develop. Let's keep up with competition by improving the quality of our stock through development or trade. That is the nature of the Lakers tradition in having the best players at all times.

LakerTom,

Once again, I thank you for honoring me with a response. Of course I need to correct the record a bit and express my incredulousness at your assumption that you could possibly be 30 years older than me. I only accept the fact that you are more experienced in life at all because of what I remember from our previous exchanges, but 30 years older? Come on now...do you really think that I just dropped out of college yesterday? Okay, maybe I didn’t drop out of college but I did consider it many, many times in my interminable slog through the higher education system. Let me testify truthfully here and state unequivocally that you have more vitality and vigor in your commentary and persona than any of the young whippersnappers around here should ever hope to achieve.

I consider it an honor to be conflated with you on this blog, even if that particular false accusation was not presented in an honorable manner. In fact, it was put forth as a classic dodge. A distraction conceived in the projection of a guilty conscience onto an imaginary reality. Assuming any conscience at all behind the vitriol that was spewed at you in that instance is being generous. I must say that I admire your patience with this type of childish behavior, since I have very little myself. Your continuing hope for the redemption of certain individuals on this blog is commendable, if not a continuing wonderment to me, and makes you a shining example of faith in the future that we should all aspire to.

Our personality types and styles are so obviously different that the attempt to insult you by associating you with me was stereotypically disingenuous. It often happens that those guilty of a particular indiscretion accuse others of the very act that they themselves are so consciously, or even subconsciously, ashamed of committing. This is part of human nature I suppose, but unfortunately an expression of that aspect of it which still resides in the reptilian part of our psyche. Some people can’t be embarrassed into changing their behavior because they have no shame. Psychology knows them as sociopaths but we know them as liars and cheats, those folks that would stab you in the back at the drop of a hat and then accuse you of falling onto their knife.

I’m afraid that’s what we are dealing with here and while I don’t believe that anyone is beyond redemption, I do believe that these folks are far beyond anything that I might be able to do for them. This is why I choose to simply ignore those who proffer disrespect and insults at every opportunity. To engage in conflict with these disturbed individuals makes me feel unclean, and not just metaphorically. The slime that permeates this type of sociopathic behavior is palpable. Fortunately the antidote is found in interacting with people like you, and that greater majority of this blog who have benefitted from the leadership you have provided to us and respect it for what it is...existential!

JustaLakerFan,

"You are putting people into two categories."

As I always say, there are two types of people in this world...those that classify people into two different types, and those that don't. I'm with the latter...

This sentence is a lie!

Sorry dude, I couldn't resist having a bit of fun with that one, but I do respect your calling out of an obvious false dichotomy. Very well done, keep thinking outside the box...

What would make Houston trade us Trevor Ariza for Luke Walton in the offseason? One can dream.

Please, Lakers win over the Nuggets is not as huge as some people make it seem. Lake show dont need to prove anything to anyone or any other team. Remember, everyone is trying to catch up to the Lakers talent. Let it be that the Nuggets could possibly beat the Lake's in a 7 game series, but that shouldnt be their main concern. i know two other teams that can be just as physical or maybe even more. The Jazz are brutal, they don't give anything easy. The Mavericks; J-Kidd is the best point guard in the league. He owns Chauncey Billups. Remember the eastern playoffs? J-Kidd dont give up anything easy to any other PG.

So the Nuggets should be more concern who they face in the 1st; 2nd if they r lucky, playoff series. Cause i can bet the Suns, Jazz, Spurs, and maybe even the Thunder can beat them in a series. They always buckle under pressure. They rather talk and harass than play ball

How about Greg Poppavich for the next Laker coach? Phil is gonna retire after he wins his 12th championship. Thats because the Lakers are gonna win the next 2.
All of PJ championships have come in 3peats, lol. His next threat is Poppavich, if thats how you spell it.
I can see the Lakers Future. We are going to go back to the glory days where we build championships through a center and a PG. That being Bynum and Chris Paul. People have compared Chris Paul's skills and hunger to a young Magic Johnson. I also see a former Texas college player named Durant.
Everyone is taking too much stock in the free agency of 2010. Although it makes it interesting news and exciting basketball for the next year or so; the bigger acquasitions will come in 2011 or 2012. The year being when Kobe decides to pass the throne.

Sir MM, just an out-of-the-blue question, do you have Filipino roots? If you do not want to answer, it's ok.

Just to add- For me, Thriller is the glue to this Laker team. He is the key. Mamba, Pau, Lamar, Fish may be constant in the playoffs, but if Ron's game isn't ON, then we will be in trouble.

LAKERS ALL DAY!!!

*
RON ARTEST WE APPRECIATE YOU DAY – BANDWAGON
*
(01) RICK FRIEDMAN – OWNER - Message to Thuggets: Bullies never win. Try all you want to manhandle us. Our talent allows us to impose our will. All we have to do is find our resolve. Resolve. The quality that has been listed as M.I.A. lately reported for duty in the second half of Sunday's face-off at Staples Center. You could see it in Ron Artest's eyes. You could witness it in LO's aggression. It screamed at you in the Mamba's scowl. All of a sudden it was contagious.
(02) VMAN – DRIVER - Ron and LO are gonna wrap a championship banner around their careers and take this thing the rest of the way. ROnLO's the matchup nightmare every team is goin' to have to focus on now. Hmm, that leaves that 24 guy freer to roam.Every fighter has a plan till he gets hit. The Lakers were hit, they responded with a beautifully ugly W.
(03) AZTRONUT – RIDING SHOTGUN - I’d have to vote for Artest as the player of the game as his defense on Anthony made all the difference in the outcome and also inspired the rest of the team to buckle down
(04) #4
(05) JAMIE SWEET - Game ball goes to Lamar and Ron for bringing it. Lamar was an offensive juggernaut, blowing by K-Mart, Melo or whoever they tried to put on him. Ron was intimidating and got under Carmello's skin more than Sasha Vujacic ever did.
(06) CALIPHILOSOPHER - I like that Ron Ron is setting high standards for the team. The more that I hear from him, the more I appreciate what he brings to the Lake Show. He's seemed to mellow out (in his own way) since first coming into the league with Chicago.
(07) JON K - I think Thriller is setting a high standard for himself and the Lakers, which is good. I'd rather see a player of Thriller's calliber talk about how they can improve than someone like Carmelo Anthony or J.R. Smith rambling on about how they're unstoppable. Artest played great defense tonight. I was reminded as to why we signed Thriller in the first place. "Ron was the perfect pick up to slog through a repeat year winning with defense." My gut is telling me that Thriller is going to be the reason we win a Championship
(08) MARK G - I thought LO and Ron were great today and I guess I'm the only one that thought Bynum played OK. He was moving on D, blocked some shots, and specifically remember him picking up Billups on the way to the basket which forced Billups into a turnover: a bad pass that went straight to Kobe.
(09) SHRINE - If this is the new and improved Artest, I liked what I saw. Great D.
(10) JW BRENT - Unbelievable effort by Artest! I'm so glad he is with the Lakers. His dedication to getting better as the season wears on bodes well for the playoff run...
(11) TODD - Artest's defense was central to the victory today.
(12) MCLYNE - Finally, a dominant game by RonRon! I've been waiting all year for a performance like this from Thriller and I'm glad it happened tonight.
(13) STAPLES24 - Ron Artest will be the MVP of the Finals.
(14) DXTAH - heres ronnie T rocking them too http://tiny.cc/6bIMo
(15) Q.S. - give me more of Ron Artest!
(16) OUCHHHH - i hope after this game all the Ariza nostalgia will be gone. wake up. iRon is the ONE.
(17) KB BLITZ - Artest finally coming through against Melo and just frustrating the hell out of him.
(18) SCOTT - Value of the swap for Artest has been proven. Having 'Melo playing hurt the Nuggets this time, because he had to face Artest, leading to poor shooting and turnovers. I'd rather have the Nuggets run the offense through 'Melo against Artest than through Billups against the Lakers PGs
(19) APPLE NIPPLES - Of course Ron had his best defensive game of the year shutting down Carmelo
(20) DJ. - Ron was at his best, really looked great!
(21) TAINO - In the playoffs atmosphere of today's game when the refs could call a foul on every play but the refs put the whistles in their pockets... this is where Ronron can operate. Artest was making a statement, make the premier scorers work for everything,
(22) LAKERBAKE - Ron gets credit for dropping some "MUSCLE POUNDS" for the sake of his defense and the team. Lamar Odom is the X factor in Los Angeles!!!
(23) OHIO VIC - Great win and I agree that it was the best I've seen Artest play all year
(24) JAMES KATT - 1. Ron Artest is the player of the game. He played fantastic hard-nosed, physical defense against Carmelo Anthony and got Carmelo to FOUL OUT. I loved Artest swinging in the air after Carmelo's foul. That is the fighting Ron I expected to see. He should now be able to keep up with Lebron. Ron is greatly needed by the Lakers for his offense - not just defense. He gave us a good 17 points today. He shouldn't forget that he also needs to be a threat on offense in order to make the opponents work harder.
(25) JEANETTE - Kobe, Ron Artest and Odom are in it. We got this. I can see Pau & Drew going at it from this day on. Lakers will be unstoppable once everybody gets on board. Our defence will win the championship this year. Ron will be the difference.
(26) LANDO - l. Kudos to Artest in handling Anthony. Anthony can usually bulldoze his way to the hole but Ron wasn't having it.
(27) EMAMNAUEL - Artest was clearly the MVP of the game
(28) Another Dave - My impression so far this season is that while Artest's defense isn't as situationally impressive as Ariza's frequently was... the lockdown, preventative style he plays is much more sound. Denying position as opposed to relying on quickness to create the steal.
(29) CyberCosmiX - I love Artest's philosophy, 'possession by possession'. Frankly, he is really selfless, that is the only quality I didn't know about and was concerned with coming to the Lakers. We all saw him dominate offensive possessions during the Lakers/Rockets playoff series last season, I really thought he had a more dominating, demanding nature. He has proven to be about as selfless and team-oriented as Lamar is - and that is saying something
(30) MR NANO(the earthquaked) - I always liked Artest because of that -fundamentally-.That's the best way to aproach any game -and life too-. You can't be frustrated because of the past, but you are always ready for the future. Hopefully the people in my country can learn some of that philosophy. That is very needed around this parts.
(31) DAVE M - Ron's improving play is terrific to watch. The guy's been nothing but a team player though, has everyone's back and they have his. It's awesome.
(32) JUSTANOTHERMAMBAFAN - I LOVE the fire that Thriller's playing with. During the post-game analysis, they zoomed in on his eyes when guarding Mela - watching where the pass was going to be thrown - and sure enough RonRon gets the steal. FOCUS. I nope a LOT of that rubs off on the rest of our guys. No more playing lackadaisacal.... ok who are we kidding?? LOL! Tha Show are who they are - a team built for focus during the REAL season - the playoffs
(33) PSYCORP - I just don't understand those who whined about the Ron-for-Ariza deal (well, not an actual trade but same result). I know Trevor is a local guy and he's got lot of local support but let's think about it objectively for a minute. Ariza's strength is in his speed. Ron's in his strength There is a reason Ron has consistently been mentioned as worthy on the NBA All-Defense team and actually won the Defensive Player of the year award once. Ron came with lot and lot of experience as well as PO toughness. Not so much
(34) SCOTT - RonRon knows his place with the Lakers. The funniest possession yesterday though was early in the game when RonRon was holding the ball on the perimeter for like 5 seconds, trying to find someone to pass it too, and NO Nuggets player even ran up to defend him! He finally shot and buried the three. Sometimes it seems like Artest is almost trying TOO hard to prove he's a team player. If he can consistently bury the three when wide open like Ariza last year, he'll be fine. whenever Artest shuts somebody down, instead of Thriller we should honor him with the moniker of SMOOTH CRIMINAL.
(35) LAKERTOM - Please add me to the Appreciate Ron Bandwagon
(36) HUMANOMALY(the 29 minutes) - "....I can't recall another player with so much focus, concentration.....
(37) BLEEDPURPLE AND GOLD - It is just one game, he needs to keep this up. specially in the playoffs and i believe he will thats why hes a Laker!
(38) EDWIN GUECO - I knew RonRon will help the Lakers but it will take sometime to fraternize and learn the triangle of PJ. He is sometimes tentative then comes the injury.
(39)

I am sorry for all those who wants LBJ to be a Laker. This guy is so full of himself. Do you honestly like the Lakers to be like the Cavs who disrespect every team they blow out while cannot congratulate the teams that beat them? Have you seen what they did in NY last night? If this is your brand of having fun, then I am not for it. For me you can celebrate with respect to the competitor. I thought LBJ and the Cavs learned and humbled themselves from last year's debacle. I guess not and nothing will humble this princess (let me borrow that justa). They are celebrating as if they already have multiple championship banners hanging at the Q. Wait until this princess get a ring. He will parade the ring for all the world to see. As a Laker fan, you expect me to cheer for this princess? No way, if she ends up being a Laker, I will forget NBA for a while. I cannot cheer for my Laker if I cannot cheer for their best player. Will that make me non-Laker fan, so be it.

Aztronut,

you wrote this to LakerTom:
Our personality types and styles are so obviously different that the attempt to insult you by associating you with me was stereotypically disingenuous. It often happens that those guilty of a particular indiscretion accuse others of the very act that they themselves are so consciously, or even subconsciously, ashamed of committing. This is part of human nature I suppose, but unfortunately an expression of that aspect of it which still resides in the reptilian part of our psyche. Some people can’t be embarrassed into changing their behavior because they have no shame. Psychology knows them as sociopaths but we know them as liars and cheats, those folks that would stab you in the back at the drop of a hat and then accuse you of falling onto their knife.

my response: What in the world are y'all talkin' about?

Psycorp,

you wrote: I just don't understand those who whined about the Ron-for-Ariza deal (well, not an actual trade but same result). I know Trevor is a local guy and he's got lot of local support but let's think about it objectively for a minute.

Ariza's strength is in his speed. Ron's in his strength. As some posters liked to point out, Trevor's D has some element of gambling in it. Sometimes he got lucky and looked great as a result but Ron's more steady and consistent. There is a reason Ron has consistently been mentioned as worthy on the NBA All-Defense team and actually won the Defensive Player of the year award once. Ron came with lot and lot of experience as well as PO toughness. Not so much Ariza.

OK, even if we can debate about the merit of Ron vs. Trevor IMO that only applies to the regular season. For the PO where games tend to be a lot more slow paced, physical and intense Ron's style is CLEARLY more useful to the team. There would have been NO WAY that Trevor Ariza could have manhandled Carmelo in last night's game the way Artest did.

my response:

This is *my* opinion. [ meaning it & .50 cents won't get you a coffee ]
You seem to be making the point that one physical attribute is superior to
another. You also seem to be making the point that one style of play is
superior to another.

I argue that neither of those points are conclusively true. Strength does
not help you if someone can consistently get the first step because they're
quicker/faster. i.e. This is why LO is no longer a good candidate for SG per
Phil Jackson.

Wouldn't you say that Artest is stronger than Kobe? Wouldn't you say that
Kobe is quicker than Artest? I believe it was in Game 3 of the playoffs
against Denver that Kobe took Carmelo 1-on-1 and was successful. He played
a physical style of defense. Trevor could have lifted weights and become
stronger during the off season. The coaches could have mentioned this to
him. Obviously, we'll never see this. What I'm saying is that Trevor could
have developed a more physical style of defense while keeping his quickness.

You can't teach speed. You can't teach height. Everything else can be
changed.

Jon K, Justa, Thanks for your words and concern. I live near Valparaiso, so we are only a little shaked (7.5), but nothing else. A close friend of mine, however, has her family near the epicenter, and doesn't know anything about them right now.
The electric power came back just to follow the Lakers win on sunday so that cheered me up. And i'm hoping a win for today.

GO LAKERS!!!
GO CHILE!!!

Good morning everyone!

Hope everyone is ready for the game tonight, and that you have a productive and great start to your day.

Hopefully I'll see you all on the live chat tonight!

aztronut,

"As I always say, there are two types of people in this world...those that classify people into two different types, and those that don't."

I actually like this sentence and have been thinking about this subject for sometime.

I think that people tend to fall into patterns of hard dualist thinking based upon observations of incongruency or patterns of soft dualist thinking based on principles of natural congruency.

Hard dualist thinking is extremely effecient, but invariably overlooks the unique variations each situation maintains, thus leading to cognitive dissonance.

Anyhow, I like the Lakers.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Tom,

"What would make Houston trade us Trevor Ariza for Luke Walton in the offseason?"

Luke Walton suddenly averaging a triple double. One can dream.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Hey guys we got a new post up

MM

Wait until this princess get a ring. He will parade the ring for all the world to see. As a Laker fan, you expect me to cheer for this princess? No way, if she ends up being a Laker, I will forget NBA for a while. I cannot cheer for my Laker if I cannot cheer for their best player. Will that make me non-Laker fan, so be it. Posted by: Jeanette | March 02, 2010 at 06:35 AM
OUT FREAKIN STANDING!!!

I’m afraid that’s what we are dealing with here and while I don’t believe that anyone is beyond redemption, I do believe that these folks are far beyond anything that I might be able to do for them. This is why I choose to simply ignore those who proffer disrespect and insults at every opportunity. To engage in conflict with these disturbed individuals makes me feel unclean, and not just metaphorically. The slime that permeates this type of sociopathic behavior is palpable. Fortunately the antidote is found in interacting with people like you, and that greater majority of this blog who have benefitted from the leadership you have provided to us and respect it for what it is...existential!Posted by: aztronut | March 02, 2010 at 12:52 AM

OOOH WEEEEE! I KNOW I DON'T HAVE TO SAY IT...OUT FREAKIN STANDING!!

Jon K.,

"I actually like this sentence and have been thinking about this subject for sometime."

It's something that we should all spend a little more time thinking about...or not?

Welcome back Mr Nano, I hope you and your family are doing well.

As for Artest, I think we all knew what we would get from Artest defensively. Most people were concerned about the physicality of his play and his focus. He has proven his value to this team and is being embraced by teammates and fans. My only concern is giving Ron his needed rest during the rest of the regular season.


Was a time on the blog when an LO for Ron Artest trade was batted around.
Fast forward to both LO and Ron stepping us up into championship form. How good is it to be a Laker fan?

Ron's always been the best NBA bargain goin'. Able to rise to superstar levels at times, at 7 mil he was a steal.

Realistically, it hasn't taken long for Ron to make an impact. Come April, this will be dominating.

You are putting people into two categories. Those as you say whined about the swap and those that supported it. I however belong to a third categor that we do applaud getting Artest and wishing we kept TA. Think TA off the bench for Ron or Kobe and think awesome "D" the whole game.

Fish going to coaching and JF and SB sharing pg position.

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

I was in a 4th category. I was in the category that realized that Ariza's agent is an idiot, especially after how he tried to handle and got manhandled in the Bynum contract negotiations and that he screwed it all up for Ariza. Ariza's agent knew the Lakers financial position and still tried to pull out more then Ariza was worth for the role he was going to be playing for the team. Logically, the Lakers made a sound business decision and went with Artest instead. I wish people could just see the situation for what it is. It was a business decision based on an idiot agent and not some sort of Free Agent trade.


CyberCosmiX, in regards to what you said earlier about Artest and being dominant of the ball in Houston. The reason he was is because he had to. He was the most talented shooter on that team. With T-Mac and Yao out, the next best option was Artest. He filled the role as best he could. He's always been a 2nd or 3rd scoring option usually on teams he's been with. I was a bit worried myself about him jacking up bad shots, but this season realized that he didn't jack up bad shots with Houston because he wanted to, it's because he had to.

VMan,

Since Ariza is not contributing much to the Rockets, I wish they will trade him back to the Lakers with our expiring contracts plus draft picks. Can you imagine having LO-Artest-Ariza in one team as a support role to other three? I think that is the alignment of stars in the West.

*
PRAY FOR THE HEALTH OF utzworld THE BANNER HOLDERS CHILD & FAMILY – BANDWAGON
Mamba, Jon K, Faith, LakerTom & the Lakers Blog Patriarchs (and the entire Lakers Blog family): Mini Banner Holder-ette has just been diagnosed with level 5 lead poisoning due to chipped (and CHEAP) paint in our apartment. She is fine, but please pray for her healing, health & safety. Her name is Mikayla (hence her Blog nickname Mini Banner Holder-ette - and she is in line to take the mantle...she's the only one in the house who will watch all 4 quarters of a Laker game with me). Just turned 10 months old.Thank you.
Posted by: utzworld - THE BANNER HOLDER | March 02, 2010 at 09:01 AM
*
(01) MAMBA24 - OWNER - utzworld my brother all my thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. It's a shame in this day and time that this kind of stuff still happens. Stay strong Brother!
(02) THE OUTLAW – DRIVER - Utzworld: I simply cannot fathom how you must be feeling. I know that all of the blog faithful will be sending healing energy and thoughts to your daughter, myself included.
(03) EDWIN GUECO – RIDING SHOTGUN - Utz, As you have prayed for us in times of need, I'm sure the blog nation will pray for your Mini Holderette. Please give us even his/her first name to include him/her in our weekly prayers for the sick. Also, try to document all the findings, I think you are entitled to just Compensation to cover his/her medical expenses.
(04) #4 -
(05) VMAN- utzworld - THE BANNER HOLDER, thoughts and prayers with you, bro. as a father I can appreciate how this must be consuming you. kids are strong, and Laker fans are fighters. those 2 add up to a good prognosis.
(06) JEANETTE - Utzworld, I will include your daughter in my devotional prayers. You can count on your Lakersblog family.

You are putting people into two categories. Those as you say whined about the swap and those that supported it. I however belong to a third categor that we do applaud getting Artest and wishing we kept TA. Think TA off the bench for Ron or Kobe and think awesome "D" the whole game.

Fish going to coaching and JF and SB sharing pg position.

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

I was in a 4th category. I was in the category that realized that Ariza's agent is an idiot, especially after how he tried to handle and got manhandled in the Bynum contract negotiations and that he screwed it all up for Ariza. Ariza's agent knew the Lakers financial position and still tried to pull out more then Ariza was worth for the role he was going to be playing for the team. Logically, the Lakers made a sound business decision and went with Artest instead. I wish people could just see the situation for what it is. It was a business decision based on an idiot agent and not some sort of Free Agent trade.
=======================
OOPs,
Guess that now puts me in the 5th category of wishing we kept TA and signed Ron but saying TA's agent was/is a fool.

I am sorry for all those who wants LBJ to be a Laker. This guy is so full of himself. Do you honestly like the Lakers to be like the Cavs who disrespect every team they blow out while cannot congratulate the teams that beat them? Have you seen what they did in NY last night? If this is your brand of having fun, then I am not for it. For me you can celebrate with respect to the competitor. I thought LBJ and the Cavs learned and humbled themselves from last year's debacle. I guess not and nothing will humble this princess (let me borrow that justa). They are celebrating as if they already have multiple championship banners hanging at the Q. Wait until this princess get a ring. He will parade the ring for all the world to see. As a Laker fan, you expect me to cheer for this princess? No way, if she ends up being a Laker, I will forget NBA for a while. I cannot cheer for my Laker if I cannot cheer for their best player. Will that make me non-Laker fan, so be it.

Posted by: Jeanette | March 02, 2010 at 06:35 AM
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Kudos! Couldn't have stated it any better myself.
Nothing would disgust me more than to see him in Purple and Gold.


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