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Dissecting Ron Artest's improved shooting in Lakers' Game 5 111-87 victory over Oklahoma City

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Lakers forward Ron Artest had shot the ball so poorly that it overshadowed the imposing defense he's provided. Artest had shot the ball so poorly that Lakers Coach Phil Jackson expressed uncertaintyon whether Artest would ever find his shooting stroke. And Artest had shot the ball so poorly that Jackson admitted before Game 5 of the Lakers-Oklahoma City first-round series that the coaching staff had started imposing limits on his shot selection.

"We asked him to limit his threes from the corner," Jackson said. "I think that’s one of the things he can eliminate. I know he'll take one anyway tonight, but that’s Ron."

That in fact he did, but this time the shot went in the basket, and Artest scored 14 points on six-for-11 shooting in the Lakers' 111-87 Game 5 victory Tuesday over the  Thunder. This was a welcome development considering Artest had shot 12 for 40 in the first four games of the series, and continued his season-long theme of  either adding little to the offensive flow or disrupting it with ill-advised shots. Artest contended he didn't change anything, but the tape shows he took a more active approach in being involved in the offense and creating opportunities by working the post. Below is a breakdown on what he did in Game 5 to become a better offensive threat.

First quarter, :25 - 12.4

On the near side of the court,  Lamar Odom set a high screen on Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook for  Kobe Bryant. Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha switched, marking Odom in the near post. But Odom immediately cut across the lane, prompting Artest to cut over to the near side to post up. He didn't get firm positioning, however, so Bryant passed the ball to  forward Pau Gasoljust above the free-throw line. Gasol then passed it  back to Bryant before setting up a screen-and-roll on Thunder forward Kevin Durant. As Bryant drove the lane, Gasol flashed to the post and Artest cut out to  the perimeter on the near side.  Bryant passed the ball to Odom in the far corner. Odom immediately passed the ball at the top of the key to  guard Shannon Brown, who pump faked, drove above the free-throw line and then passed to Artest. He nailed the open three-pointer, giving the Lakers a 31-16  lead. This play wasn't simply a product of Artest's making a shot he normally misses. He had gotten in rhythm by trying to run through the post, and the team allowed the opportunities to open up by running the triangle offense.

Second quarter, 4:53 - 4:40

Odom pushed the ball up the floor after rebounding  Westbrook's missed free throw. After feeding an entry pass  to Gasol, Odom cut across the lane and set a screen on Thunder forward Jeff Green. Artest curled off the screen and received a pass in the paint from Gasol. Artest immediately went up for the left-handed layup, giving the Lakers a 41-23 lead.

Second quarter, 3:51 - 3:46

Artest received a pass from Derek Fisher  at the near side of the court just above the free-throw line. In triple-threat position, Artest dribbled left and looked to Gasol posting inside. But Thunder center Nenad Krstic played Gasol up too high, effectively creating an open lane along the baseline. Artest drove through the lane and then posterized Sefolosha with the one-handed dunk, increasing the Lakers' cushion to 45-27.

Third quarter, 9:22 - 9:17

Bryant drove past Sefolosha but  met some heavy traffic in the lane. In midair, Bryant kicked the ball out to Artest in the corner. He made a three-pointer, giving the Lakers a 65-39 lead. This wasn't anything extraordinary that the Lakers did, just  Bryant showing his great court vision and Artest  knocking down an open shot.

Third quarter, 4:34 - 4:27

With Odom directing the offense at the top of the key, Artest cut across the baseline and flashed to the near side on the perimeter. Sefolosha slid to him, but Artest drove right and pulled up to make a 21-footer, giving the Lakers a 79-47 advantage.

Third quarter, 3:25 - 3:16 

After passing the ball to Odom in the far post, Artest cut across the lane and set a down screen for Gasol, who immediately received a pass from Odom inside. Gasol pulled up for a short jumper, but his lift and release were off, resulting in an airball. But Artest grabbed the ball and converted a layup, widening the gap to  81-53.

What this means

This isn't a matter of Artest suddenly finding his shooting stroke. Sure, he went two of four from three-point range, but Artest's improved shooting numbers in Game 5 had more to do with the fact that he appeared more involved with the offense. There were a lot of times Artest would stand in the corner, perhaps afraid that any movement he'd perform would disrupt the offense. And the defenses gave him that space, knowing he wouldn't often make the shot. All of Artest's field goals happened after penetration, showing he took a more active role in helping the offense run its course. It's perhaps another argument for why the Lakers should put heavy emphasis on ball movement and penetration because it elevates everyone's offensive capabilities, including Artest's.

--Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blogon Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Lakers forward Ron Artest makes it difficult for Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant to drive in Game 5 on Tuesday night. Credit: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times.

 
Comments () | Archives (40)

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Folks if you been following the threads closely it appears THE TEAM reads the blog. We said shave your head and cut that stuff off ROn-Ron....Next game Ron shaves his head. We said tell Ron Ron no more threes...Now here is Phil saying he told Ron Ron no more threes....Hmmmm. Very Interesting
Mamba24

Mamba24 - LOL i hope your theory is correct, but it might be a coincidence.

MM

Mamba24, or, they are using the common sense, the least common of the senses.
But i hope you're right.

MM,

Any news on Sasha's progress?

What about DJ, how is he doin?

No need for a new thread.. a comment on this thread do just fine..lol

Oh and "full Throttle" was a compliment.

KILLJOYS!!! Lol!

Chic - I mentioned this in a post last week, but the latest development on Sasha is that he believes he'll be ready to play in the next round, assuming the Lakers advance. DJ got another test Tuesday and was cleared to play, so his absence was strictly a coaching decision and not one ruled by the training staff.

MM

Is game time yet? i'm so impatient!!

MM what about the auto post?
do you have spamming poblems?
I thought this was going in the wright direction.

Not quite yet Mr. Nano. But soon.

"right"
i didn't mean fliying like the wrights XD
the second time this thing didn't thought i'm a machine.

There's only One MACHINE.

Mr Nano - What do you mean?

MM

MM,
It asked me to autenticate myself by reading/filling numbers and letters because of auto posting

Mr Nano - Sometimes browsers have you do that if they're not familiar with the site.

MM

Justa,

While driving I'm thinking of your revelation today. I'm confused and troubled, I need evidence on the live chat tonight. Give us more clues, meanwhile I will hold on your prize.

Mr Nano,

machine is injured....lol!

edwin - I'm really sorry....


But - what do you mean by evidence??


You need me to talk about my boobs or something?? LOL!

Look at the picture above Durant got dizzy upon meeting Artest's armpit. lol!

Mr Nano - Sometimes browsers have you do that if they're not familiar with the site.

MM

Posted by: Mark Medina | April 30, 2010 at 05:46 PM

There's any Lakers skin i can use on my Firefox browser? ;)

Mang Edwin, you'll be in the chat?

First time I am home and not using my I-phone to blog, what a difference.


You need me to talk about my boobs or something?? LOL!

Posted by: justanothermambafan | April 30, 2010 at 05:49 PM

That would be a very interesting topic to chat about while we wait the game to start
LOL!

LOL @ Justa,

Hey, we'll celebrate our 16th year as well this July. I was just joking about the divorce comment. I hope I have not offended you.

Can we have a video chat? @LOL....

LOL MrNano but I'm not going there!

Never Jeanette - not a chance!

Justa,
:(

I downloaded Safari last night so that i may have a purple and gold chat..and now i cant find safari..WTH? any tips for me?

Never Jeanette - not a chance!

Posted by: justanothermambafan | April 30, 2010 at 06:02 PM

What the video chat?

Does this blog talk about basketball anymore?

NO - you offending me - never gonna happen....!

Justa,
So those times I've "bowed before the master" I should have said "Yes mistress!!"?

Well, that's a bit more fun eh?

Still, thanks for havin' my back and don'tcha go anywhere.

JR

Chic - Maybe search for it in the application window.

MM

When does the chat start?
Come onnnnn tipoff!!!

JR


Laker Truth - I can't wait for this game to commence. While we're giving it to the Thunder, I can only hope that Bootah is doing the same thing to the Thuggets. This just may turn out to be the BEST. FRIDAY. EVER.

Chic, did you installed it?

It's killing me......is it game time yet!!!!!.....


LOL JR - and thanks!

Give us more clues, meanwhile I will hold on your prize. !
Posted by: Edwin Gueco | April 30, 2010 at 05:46 PM

edwin - I'm really sorry....


But - what do you mean by evidence??


You need me to talk about my boobs or something?? LOL!

Posted by: justanothermambafan | April 30, 2010 at 05:49 PM

WTF!!! ROFLMAO!!! Will you two stop it!! Edwin, NO! you may not see Justa's boobs! Justa, stop being coy with Edwin! NOW STOP IT, STOP IT I SAY! ROFLMFAO!!! Is this an April fools joke played late or something? Damnnnnnnn! Now I'm confused! I could have sworn I saw a pair of Kwames magnificent Calves float across my screen. I gotta get a beer. I'll be back later. In the meantime, you two play nice!

MrNano,

Yes.. it was running last night after the install, but now its gone..

I tried to reinstall it from the downloads file but I kept getting a error message.. looks like black and white for me with FireFox.

Chic, try the search option: "safari.exe" and execute from there. You can see where is located and make a shortcut.
If that doesn't work, then i don't know.
Good luck!

Guys it's not a kobe love fest. I'm just assessing the situation. I'll rip him when he has a bad game like I did in Game 3. And I'll praise him when he does well in Game 5. It's all about just staying what I see.

MM

Posted by: Mark Medina | April 30, 2010 at 04:05 PM

LOL MM, I was just jokin about that Kobe lovefest comment. But it was nice to see a journalist talk about these things in the proper perspective. At the end of the day, it really doesn't matter how many regular season MVP's one has (especially since that award is a popularity contest almost as much as a real award). The only thing that matters is how many rings one has!

And btw I've said before I'm happily married and I meant it. Coming up on 18 years this summer....

Posted by: justanothermambafan | April 30, 2010 at 04:09 PM

That is absolutely awesome Justa! It's always nice to see marriages work out in this day and age. I'm comin up on 10 years this winter myself.


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