Caught in the Web: Previewing Game 6 of Lakers-Suns series
Lakers linksThe Times' Mark Heisler includes Artest's game-winner among the list of memorable and unlikely clutch shots.
--The Daily News' Vincent Bonsignore argues a stronger defensive performance will ensure a Lakers' Game 6 victory.
--The Orange County Register's Janis Carr details the Lakers' strong track record in closeout games.
--The Star-Ledger's Dave D'Alessandro reports Phil Jackson contacted John Paxson to consider assistant Brian Shaw for the Bulls' coaching position.--ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky contrasts how different Kobe Bryant has been in the postseason and explains why the "rumors of his demise were, well, exaggerated."
--The New York Times' Howard Beck dissects the dichotomy that is Ron Artest.
--The Riverside Press Enterprise's David Lassen highlights how Phil Jackson has also moved on from the Lakers' Game 5 win. Lassen also observes how both the Lakers and Suns feel confident heading into Game 6.--ESPN Los Angeles' Arash Markazi goes through the six degrees of Shaq and how the Lakers trading him ultimately benefitted the organization.
--Sports Illustrated's Jack McCallum argues Bryant is the league's best player, even more than LeBron James.
--Fox Sports' Charley Rosen argues the series isn't over yet.
--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford provides more details on Artest's fine.--Sports Illustrated's Ian Thomsen dissects how Bryant is the King of Clutch.
--The Orange County Register's Randy Youngman dubs Artest the "Most Interesting Man in the World."--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell highlights the team's performances in closeout games.
--Silver Screen and Roll C.A. Clark wonders who has the advantage heading into Game 6.
--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius breaks down Game 6
Suns links--The Times' Broderick Turner reports Phoenix guard Steve Nash still maintains the Suns will win Game 6.
--NBA.com's Fran Blinebury credits Phoenix for remaining optimistic after the Game 5 loss.
--The Arizona Republic's Paola Boivin tries to figure out what makes Jackson tick by talking to Suns assistant and former Bulls player and assistant coach Bill Cartwright.
--The Arizona Republic's Paul Coro has more on Nash's prediction.--NBA.com's Art Garcia detail how the Suns are preparing for Game 6.
--The Arizona Republic's Jim Gintonio and Doug Haller focus on the Suns' taking team responsibility for the Game 5 loss.--The Arizona Republic's Gintonio has a detailed Q&A with Phoenix reserve Channing Frye, with topics including Game 6, being a father, his future with the Suns and how he broke out of his shooting slump.
--The Arizona Republic's Haller details how the Suns coped with the Game 5 loss.--Valley of the Suns' Michael Schwartz demonstrates how the Nash's teammates like his guarantee.
Tweet of the Day: "Kobe Bryant's averages in the PHX series: 33 ppg, 9.6 assists, 7.4 rebounds. Arguably best overall series of his career-and it's not over" - LAIreland (KCAL-9 and 710 ESPN's John Ireland).
Reader Comment of the Day: "I am extremely glad Thriller is a Laker and my "sense" tells me that he is one of those players that is driven more by instinct than intellect in playing his game. The value of instinct is that it works much more quickly (and reactively) than intellect. Thereby producing the extraordinary results of "How did he do that?" Because it seems so in the moment that it appears impossible to be "thought out." The downside of instinct is sometimes it leads one to do things that are simply boneheaded (like take risks when you should be using the shot clock to minimize an opponent's statistical liklihood to be able to make a shot to tie the game and take it into overtime.) In any case, I think the biggest "issue" with the Lakers and Thriller is that Thriller is above all a tremendously competitive and aggressive player and we have moved him into a quasi-submissive position as a "role player." Well, that's not RON, that'll NEVER be RON. At the same time, Thriller is such a decent guy and good teammate who wants to win that he is willing to submit to that role... even though it feels totally unnatural for him. Another reason why we should cheer for him." -- Jon K
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Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant embraces forward Ron Artest after he made a last-second shot to defeat the Phoenix Suns, 103-101, in Game 5 on Thursday night at Staples Center. Credit: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times.