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Ron Artest moving past Game 5 heroics, but still feels disrespected

The moment Ron Artest's put-back went through the basket in the Lakers' 103-101 Game 5 Western Conference finals victory Thursday over the Phoenix Suns, he claimed for a split second he felt no emotion other than the fact the Lakers need to win Game 6 to clinch the series.

Soon after, however, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant embraced him, Lakers forward Lamar Odom wrapped his arms around him and the rest of the team quickly followed suit. I noted before that Artest, a player who prides himself on not dwelling on past performances, seemed to soak up the scene, slapping high-fives with teammates, enthusiastically recapping the theatrics to reporters and signing autographs to plenty of fans. Yet, he shared after Friday's practice that the brief jubilation pointed more to the fact that he viewed his game-winner as "more of a team thing" than any individual accomplishment. 

Artest's happiness became as fleeting as his rise from goat to hero in Game 5. That's when he launched an ill-advised three-pointer in the final minute as the Lakers nursed a three-point lead with 22 seconds on the shot clock. He then responded with a put-back off Bryant's missed three-pointer with 0.8 seconds remaining. Artest's post-game elation appeared so fleeting that he wondered why former Sacramento teammate Mike Bibby sent him a text message congratulating him for the shot. It appeared so fleeting that he went to a local gym to work out for an hour, believing that immediate postgame exercise would ensure longer recovery time before the next game. It appeared so fleeting that he used the phrase "move on" eight different times the next day when discussing his Game 5 heroics.

"I wasn't always that way," said Artest, whose career has mostly been defined by his aloof and angry on-court persona, most notably in the Brawl at the Palace. "When I was younger, I'd stay in the moment or stay in the past. But I wish I could've enjoyed it more. But there's nothing to enjoy."

As far as why that mindset has changed, Artest said, "I don't know." But he acknowledged he'll revel in the moment if Lakers win a championship, which explains why Artest signed a five-year deal worth $33 million with the organization and why fans and media members forever debate whether the Lakers are better off with Artest than Trevor Ariza. That's because Artest embodies a living contradiction that both frustrates and inspires, with his up-and-down performance in Game 5 serving as the most recent example. The Lakers have enjoyed his lockdown defensive presence but experience frustration with Artest's learning curve in the triangle offense. They lament his stubborn approach in shooting open shots, despite his 32.9 shooting percentage this postseason, but love that Artest maintains the confidence to immediately bounce back. Artest carries a serious approach in going to the gym immediately following Game 5, but arrives to practice the following day a half-hour late because he didn't read the correct time on the whiteboard.

That's why when a reporter asked Lakers Coach Phil Jackson if he can properly explain Artest, he immediately relents. "No, I certainly can't," said Jackson, who added he fined Artest an undisclosed amount for arriving late to practice. "I tell Lamar [Odom] he's his guardian. We have not the blind leading the blind, but probably the deaf leading the blind." Through the good and the bad, however, reveals one clear thing. Artest's teammates have fully embraced him. The team's support following Artest's game-winner appeared genuine, with Jackson describing the reaction this way: "They all knew he messed up and were rooting for him to have a comeback." Bryant admires Artest's willingness to play through adversity: "He just puts his head down and goes. And Lakers forward Pau Gasol, who describes Artest as a "good teammate" and "good guy," points to his want to help: "He's worked to try to adjust and fit in as much as he could."

"I don't know if that's the right thing or the wrong thing," Artest said. "I don't know if I'm going about things the right way or the wrong way but I worry about the next possession."

Nonetheless, you can't fault Artest for his earnestness in wanting to help the team. After suffering through plantar fasciitis (sore feet) in December, he went through pains to lose weight so he could compensate for his decreased quickness. He has routinely delegated to teammates, most notably Bryant, and makes it clear he's part of the supporting cast. And he's played through assorted injuries, including a sprained left thumb.

You can understand Artest's intentions, even if they didn't produce the desired result. He dyed his hair numerous times in hope to lighten the mood, only to be met with teasing and rolled eyes among teammates and the coaching staff. He's attempted to learn the offense and play through it, even if he often causes disruption. And he's tried to revamp his persona with numerous public appearances, though it's often diverted his attention from fully concentrating on basketball.

And then there are things you simply have to tolerate as Artest still shows small glimpses of immaturity. There was head-scratching over his Christmas night concussion. Artest's frustrations with Jackson's public criticism of his shooting prompted him to air his grievances via Twitter. And he views opponents' scouting reports in giving him open shots as a sign of disrespect when it really just speaks to teams playing the percentages.

But there's no amount of statistics to quantify the effort Artest will bring. There may be maddening performances to come. The rest of the postseason might also feature some strong defensive matchups and hot shooting nights. Whatever version of Artest the Lakers will experience, they know he's leaving everything on the court in an effort to help ensure the Lakers repeat. 

"My main thing is making sure I stay in the game, staying focused and giving 100%," Artest said. "Sometimes 100% is not good enough for people watching or it's just not good enough. If I give 100%, I'm totally happy. That's why I'm totally happy with being a villain sometimes or being hated. As long as I give 100%, I'm like, 'Cool, I gave 100%,' I went down like a soldier. That's the only thing I know."

But don't expect Artest to savor the moment anytime soon, unless, of course, the Lakers win the title.

Said Artest: "If God blesses me, if he allows me to have that, I will."

--Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter: twitter.com/latmedina. E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

 
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I like Thriller's instinct to just move on from things. We need to move on from Game 5 and focus on Game 6. The Celtics are where they want to be. The Lakers need to do the same.

Ron's Game 5 heroics mean nothing if that's the last Lakers' victory of the season. We have bigger fish to fry.

Five more victories are needed to repeat. Who are the NEXT five Laker heroes? That's what I want to know.

Amazing! If that game went into overtime, do you all have FAITH that we'd have won? We had been sliding for a while.

Hopefully the next game is not overtime, but a total reset. Otherwise, we could get hurt (on our way to ultimate series victory).

GOOoooooOOOOOO LAKERS !!!

Rick Friedman,

The answer is AMMO. LO will do a pass like he did to Sasha on the sidelines, but AMMO WILL pop it with a hook shot, impress, get let in, and go on to become the third most prolific Lakers Finals scorer of all times.

GOOOoooOOOOOO AMMO !!

GOOOoooOOOOOOOO LAKERS !!!

There's a lot to think about the game, Ron-Ron...Those 3-pointers you missed could have been the factor...Don't try to hit the game shot; being a Laker, the game shot will come to you.
Cheers.

I dont get how people say it was the suns game to lose, last them I checked, it was our game to lose, especially because we had an 18 point lead . HOW is that the suns game to lose?! Stupid commentators will say anything to sound smart.

"Rick Friedman,

"The answer is AMMO. LO will do a pass like he did to Sasha on the sidelines, but AMMO WILL pop it with a hook shot, impress, get let in, and go on to become the third most prolific Lakers Finals scorer of all times.

GOOOoooOOOOOO AMMO !!

GOOOoooOOOOOOOO LAKERS !!!

Posted by: JohnnyP | May 28, 2010 at 11:31 PM"


The only place Ammo is going is to another team next year. It took too long, we could have used the time coaching players that play. As it is he will be an unrestricted free agent I believe, and the Lakers will have gotten RELATIVELY nothing concerned with the games played on the court, but did get Shannon and I think it was vlad rad off the books.....i think they should have just dumped him, or bought him out....

I've come to the conlusion that the majority of the time one should listen to what ESPN is saying at any given moment and assume that a 180 degree variant upon it is actually what is really happening.

In all due seriousness, of the truly serious bloggers (and I'm not sure I deserve to be called one, I'm really more an intelligent fan than anything else) on this blogmunity, I'd would any day rather hear their opinion on what is going on in the wild, wild world of sports than the talking heads of ESPN.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Mark Medina, by the way, a very nice write-up on this thread.

For many of us, sports convey a wonder of something greater than just ourselves and I think you touched upon that drama in your writing.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

My rant against ESPN was partially inspired by all these "experts" talking about how the Suns are still in control of this series. How? Seriously, how?

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Still savoring those first instances after Thriller made the game-winning shot.

It was a pure celebration of comeraderie (sp?).

I can't imagine that if the situation was inverted and the Celtics experienced a similar moment that they, in contrast, would not simply begin instinctually feasting on babies and corn dogs in a strange, revolting fit of horrific Bacchanalian hedonism.

It just seems like the way it would go, in contrast to our good-vibe Lakers.

Yeah...

All I'm saying is that the Celtics are inherently evil and I'm pretty sure every person with a soul recognizes that fact.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Hey Everyone !
Hope you all are doing well.Most of you must be sound asleep this time of the day :) . I have a couple things to share about Ron Ron.
He is a dedicated player who puts in a lot of work into his came and must be appreciated for the same regardless of his mental lapses and whether his efforts come to fruition often or not.But for him to say that he feels disrespected doesn't make a lot of sense.
Opposing teams give him the attention/respect he deserves for being a solid defender. It is not like they are obligated to respect him on offense too when he is inconsistent/inefficient and prone to repeating the same mistakes. It is a weakness of his that they are exploiting and I don't see how that is tantamount to "disrespect" that Artest speaks of.
He should just let his game speak for itself and let it earn him some respect by turning in solid performances offensively.Loopy statements of his like "I always feel good about my shot no matter what...even when I go 1-10..I could care less about offense..." indicate a lack of clear thinking/focus to go with his constant hard work. It is true that you need to say even keel and ,to peddle a cliche, not get too high or too low, but a few bad performances in succession have to hurt a player for him to improve significantly.Nonsensical answers like "I am just playing basketball" to serious questions about his decision-making don't reveal a player who puts in the necessary thought into the process of improvement of his individual game and the way it can fit in productively with the team.
But then again, I may just be blowing things way out of proportions by taking his quotes too seriously :)

Amit

Magic Phil,

"Don't try to hit the game shot; being a Laker, the game shot will come to you."

I like that, meaning, I like that you wrote that.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Amit,

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.

The complexity comes from the fact that Ron ain't like the average chicken in the soup. He's different... which is always a blessing and a curse. He's just different. He's a dominant competitor, but not like most dominant competitors.

What he needs is his particular personal niche to be better exploited. This is something that Phil Jackson, as a master of Psychology, should be optimizing, but may, for whatever reason, have trouble getting his head around.

[I ramble when I'm exhausted, but that doesn't mean I'm not right.]

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Hey JonK
Thanks for your thoughts man.I agree Ron is driven more by instinct than intellect but I doubt if a lot of "innate" intelligence is required to improve upon the mistakes he is prone to making. I too am gonna cheer for any guy who gives it his all for the Laker team and can totally appreciate everything that Ron bring to the table.No dubts about that.A critique of any facet of his game shouldn't be interpreted as me undermining his importance or not rooting for him to do well.Quite the contrary.
As for him being forced into accepting a role where his aggression takes a back seat, I concede that he has had to make quite a few adjustments so that he becomes a significant cog in the Laker wheel.And I didn't say that Ron needs to change on a fundamental level to be more effective on a consistent basis..it just takes a lot of character combined with dogged self-belief and hard work to overcome one's instinctual responses in important situations and train oneself to make the right decisions.A willingness to adapt and an ability to analyze things effectively is all that is required from Ron and I absolutely see the former in his efforts ever since he became a part of the team.It is the latter I am concerned about.
The dominance you talk about of Ron's would become more consistent rather than being checkered if he becomes a little more amenable to chanc\ge, lends himself to understanding his flaws better and cuts back on the craziness :)
The thought process involved doesn't require for him to be very bright.He is a phenomenal player and has everything it takes to become a consistent threat and earn the "respect' he seems so sensitive about.

Amit

Nash don't lie.

Man. I wrote the post, then lost the post. Ouch.


Anyways, I was talking about this article:

Jack McCallum> INSIDE THE NBA


It's simple: Kobe is the best player -- better than MVP LeBron


The question of whether The King had surpassed The Kobester began to be asked quietly a couple seasons ago. Bryant was still the pick of most, but he engenders such enmity that many fans and journalists just couldn't wait until the NBA became LeBron's League. My own reading is that, by last season, a majority would've picked LeBron over Kobe, and after the Cleveland forward grabbed his second straight MVP award this season, that majority could be described as overwhelming.


Let me repeat: I was not one of them.


The idea that reputations are permanently made and permanently unmade in the postseason is uttered so often that we get tired of hearing it. But that doesn't mean it's false. It's the way it is. Cruel as it sounds, six months of sterling play can be erased by six weeks of mediocrity.


At this writing only a precious few insiders know exactly what happened to distract James during the Boston Celtics series. But something did. He let himself be taken out mentally, and not for the first time. By contrast, when throughout the 2003-04 season Bryant had to jet back and forth to Colorado for legal proceedings surrounding his sexual assault case, I never saw him turn off mentally. Of course it was a mental strain. He admitted as much. But on countless occasions he made big plays on the very days that he was traveling....


...But let me propose another simply but often overlooked reason that Bryant remains superior to LeBron: Kobe is a better basketball player. Not a better athlete, which sometimes gets lost. A better basketball player. He dribbles better, passes better, has more ways to score and understands the game better. Which is not to say that LeBron is inferior in any of those areas. He is great. But he's not as good as Bryant.


When Kevin McHale was general manager in Minnesota, he used to complain that his scouts came back with reports like "jumps out of the gym" and "has running-back quickness." McHale used to tell them: "That's great if we're putting together a track team. But I'm looking for guys who can actually play basketball." (Feel free to make the obligatory mention that McHale was not an overwhelming success as an exec.)


The Suns are getting the whole Bryant basketball repertoire in this series. The absurd double-clutch jumper over Goran Dragic in the second quarter of Thursday's Game 5 win. The ridiculous three-minute span in the second quarter when he hit a 24-footer and two 25-footers to stretch the Lakers lead to 41-25. (The Suns call that shot "the rise-up." Bryant might be tightly guarded but he simply elevates above everyone and releases. It's unguardable, and he does it better than anyone ever, including Michael Jordan.)


To differentiate between Bryant and James, the Suns' Grant Hill, who has been charged with guarding both, turns to a baseball metaphor.


"LeBron has the pullup jumper and he takes you to the rim," said Hill. "He has the two pitches, and, trust me, both of them are great. But Kobe is like the guy with all the pitches. He brings his fastball, his change, gives you something on the corner. LeBron will overpower you but you might know what's coming. With Kobe, you're never comfortable."


There is also that ineffable something known as will. Earlier this season Orlando's feisty Matt Barnes was standing close to Bryant when he feigned throwing a ball at Bryant's face. Bryant never even flinched. "That scared me a little," Barnes said later. "I mean, that wasn't even human."


Wes


really nice sharing thanks

I think my main point was that if we make it past the Suns, and that's a serious if, then the Ron Artest acquisiton pays off big time. Big time. But we have to make it past the Suns first. Paul Pierce was the bes player on the floor last night.


Wes

wes,

nice read.

very thorough post wesjoenixon, so succinct and right to the POINT!

congrats coach phil, kobe, pau, derek, ron-ron (you bad boy). now, we can look forward to that much awauted showdown with boston. bynum's healthy, pau's in the groove, derek's playing like a sophomore (always fresh and going), and ron-ron, well a couple of those game-saving and game winning shots and pesky defense against boston. and kobe, what is there to tell kobe? he's matured into a true leader, he really deserves to be in the pantheon of the Lakers galaxy. let's finish the conference finals in game 6 guys. will be watching you guys. thanks for giving us lakers fans one more reason to brag. LAKERS ALL THE WAY!!!!!!!

So funny, Ron shyly lamenting the fact that his last shot was less than pretty. We'll take it as it is Ron.


Wes

The Suns are doing a very good job slowing down the Lakers' inside game. It doesn't hurt that they have a legit 7 footer in Brook Lopez and an all-star caliber PF in Stoudamire. I get tired of hearing about the Lakers' size advantage. But then they play a zone which is dedicated to packing the middle AND denying the entry pass. They are saying to the Lakers "you can't have the big guys beat us, do with other guys."

It's a smart way to play. Kobe is the best player in the NBA, but other than him the Lakers key offensive threats are the bigs. Take away the bigs and it's down to guys like Fisher and Artest.


One response is for Kobe to make them pay. Kobe can shoot all day from the top corner of the zone with Nash. Nash can't do anything about it. Kobe should set up camp there and punish that little Canuck. Make them rethink that defense.


Fisher needs to continue to be aggressive and make them pay as well. He did a great job of taking advantage in game 5, he needs another effort along those lines.


Artest needs to find better shots. 2-9 won't get it. But if Ron can go 5-10 it would be huge.


And off the bench, Phil needs to look to Jordan and Sasha. Guys who can hit open shots. Brown is not a great decision maker and the zone makes him even less effective. He can shoot, but he isn't a shooter. Sasha's manic D and his potential to hit a few shots make him more effective.


And the Lakers will need to play really hard tonight - intensity and execution. The Suns will have a lot of energy tonight. But if the Lakers can get them down, the pressure of an elimination game could affect the role players.


Lakers need to play hard and right.

Wes:

Your post is one of the best post on Kobe I've read this season. The debate of who is the best player in NBA will continue for a long long time. Most sport-writers were riding the coat-tail of David Stern who openly market Lebron as the next savior of the NBA. Kobe's ways of dominating the game are contrastingly difference than those of Lebron. Lebron is bigger and taller and as you mentioned, he could literally dominate any player who dare to guard him. Kobe will never be Lebron or vice versa. He can't physically dominate the game like Lebron. Kobe's game is based on intellectual and reading the other team's defense strategies. One way or another, he will find the way to beat you. Kobe's desire to win is second to none. Ever since I became a Lakers fan, I've seen the same desire in Magic, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan. I have not witnessed the same desire of those greater players in Lebron this year. Yes, he a great player but so is Malone, Stockton and Barkley!!!

I somehow believe that the Lakers has already solved the Suns' zone defense and will win easily tonight. The dating with the hatred Celtics is in the making. It's the clash of the NBA Titans!! God vs. Evil. Lakers need to finish off the Suns tonight to gain extra days rest for our key players. Kobe will dominate as expected but I have a feeling that Lamar & Artest will have their best game of the series to night offensively and defensively. Sadly though, I don't think Bynum would contribute much to the team. Watching him play, especially on defense, makes me cringe in agony!!! He's playing like a 50years old man!!! I hope to see more of Sasha instead of the erratic Shannon Brown.

And guys, stop praying for any miracle that Smush Farmar, Luke the Puke and Charlie Manson's double, AMMO, can donned their superman hero outfit and rise up from the death to be our heroes in the playoff. It 's not going to happen!! They're duds!

Go Lakers!
In Kobe, I Trust!

Thanks Wallace, I worked real hard cutting and pasting it from the cnnsi website. I just wish more people appreciated my dedication to this blog.


Wes

Sadly though, I don't think Bynum would contribute much to the team. Watching him play, especially on defense, makes me cringe in agony!!! He's playing like a 50years old man!!!

Posted by: Wallace | May 29, 2010 at 07:00 AM

Yup Bynum looks old out there. I think he should try playing the enforcer role from here on out. That means 6 hard fouls a game, no 'and ones'. Maybe even take a tech or flagrant for the team...that's the kind of beast we need for now.

Wes,

I'm sure more people than you think do appreciate it.
Thanks for sharing.

Good morning,

No doubt you heard it, too. Even before the curtain officially fell on the hopes of the Orlando Magic, fans at Boston's TD Garden were chanting, "Beat LA." As Lakers fans, our instinct was to respond, "Bring it on!"

Not so fast. There's an unfinished piece of business tonight. Dispensing with the pesky Phoenix Suns. Blog sync and wishful thinking aside, I'm not ready to say that's a given. Not that I'm intimidated by Steve Nash's pledge that the Suns will win tonight. I'm not. It's just that I believe my lying eyes.

Apart from Kobe and Fish, the other Lakers have not been consistently effective in this series. How Bynum's knee is doing on any given night is a variable. Gasol's scoring has been consistent, but his defense has not. Lamar is an enigma wrapped inside a candy bar. Our bench has played horribly at US Airways Arena. Thriller? Even he doesn't know what he'll do from moment to moment. In short, there are no predictors for tonight.

Ooops. Let me correct that. There's something called Accu-Score on the LAT web site. It claims to have "played" tonight's game 10,000 times.

http://bit.ly/97oPzv

Whatever this thing is, it predicts the final score as Suns 109 Lakers 106.

The Celtics have given us 50% of what most of us want. A chance to avenge 2008. Now the Lakers must deliver the other 50%. A lot of things have to go right tonight. I believe they can. The only outcome that matters is the one where the game has been played 10,001 times. Go Lakers!

Noticed the foul calls were equal in last nights Celtic/Magic game, though the typical bad calls were there, especially when Garnett was trying to hack off Howards arm right in front of the refs and no call.

If the foul calls are equal tonight the Suns will be in trouble but I will be surprised to see that. The Lakers need some decent scoring from Ron, Odom and at least one bench player as I don't think Fish will come through with another 22 points. Lakers must control the boards to control the game and hold the Suns to around 100 points. If Bynum could come through with a big game that would end the series tonight, but am not holding my breath for that.

I suspect PJ will go with a similar strategy as game 5 and try to make Nash be the scorer to try and prevent the others from getting too much of a rhythm going. This is the biggest pressure game of the year for that Suns so now they can show what they are made of. If the Suns bench falters the Lakers should end it here but I think we may very well see a game 7 nail biter in LA.

Also, Lakers must win the turnovers score tonight.

Wes,
That was an outstanding post. Thank you for sharing that.

Amit,

"The thought process involved doesn't require for him to be very bright.He is a phenomenal player and has everything it takes to become a consistent threat and earn the "respect' he seems so sensitive about."

I'm not questioning Thriller's intelligence. I'm just looking at his process. I consider myself to loosely be an intellectual, but as an athlete I clearly play off of instinct before anything else. People just have different default processes when they address certain phenomenon like conflict or competition.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Interesting that after Ron made the big shot he was ready to just head to the locker room, no big deal, just another win. I think that shows Ron wants much more than just to win a game, he wants a Kobe cookie. He showed he see's the big picture. The team made a much bigger deal about it than Ron, but was nice of them to give him all the love.

Wes,

I love the article. Its so hard to explain to people why Kobe is better. But at the end of the day, I just have to tell them Kobe is simply the better player. I usual ask people to just compare Lebron and Kobe working in the paint. Lebron is a physical specimen and he does not have any post game moves at all.

When you watch Kobe work in the paint, the footwork, the grace, the seal is just beautiful. Kobe is the best post guard that has ever played the game, even Micheal. There is no comparison who is the better bball player. People brought in the hype, but they are missing the best fundamental player ever, and its a shame.

By the way, Kobe and Nash, man those two understand the game like no other. They play sound bball its so beautiful to watch. This would have been a good series to just be a bball fan. But I bleed purple and gold.

GO LAKERS!!!

"LeBron has the pullup jumper and he takes you to the rim," said Hill. "He has the two pitches, and, trust me, both of them are great. But Kobe is like the guy with all the pitches. He brings his fastball, his change, gives you something on the corner. LeBron will overpower you but you might know what's coming. With Kobe, you're never comfortable."


Kudoos wes, beautiful read on kobe and lebron.


I'll add this. Look at the demeanor of this new crop of young superstars after they lose in the postseason. Go back and look at their body language. Lebron smiling pointing at someone as he sits down to speak at the podium after losing to the c's. He had his gold, putting extras on it, bling bling on too which really was a little excessive I thought considering the mood at that point. Some people will say well he's young, rich, he's having fun in life and that we're overanalyzing something that is really just a game.


And Dwight, continued to warm up throwing up half-court shots as they were getting pounded by the c's (don't even need to mention Lebron's antics). He doing his cute little superman promos and is always joking and smiling regardless of the circumstances. His defining comment after the game was that the c's wanted it more (implying that they had the championship hunger). Really Dwight? Shouldn't an analyst say that? Shouldn't your team have that hunger after losing in the finals, kinda like the Lakers after they lost to the c's? Shouldn't you be angry? Shouldn't you kick a chair or knock over a water jug during the course of the game? Who are these fake diva superstars, really?

I don't hear ANGER, or FRUSTRATION, or this will NEVER happen again coming out of their mouths. People love to bring up Kobe's 'ship his a$$ out' comments. Or bring up his problems with Shaq, ball-hogging, Colorado, etc. If you read between the lines you have a guy who wants to win at all costs. If Bynum, Shaq, or anybody is not conditioned properly and they can't go to war with him for EVERY GAME, get me 5 guys who will! Point blank period. The Colorado trial didn't slow Kobe down, he played better! When he needs to score, he leads his team to wins with scoring. When he needs to dish and get his players involved, he leads the team to wins with that as well. When he loses he's pissed and next time he's coming even harder. That is a champion. Lebron, Dwight and crew- take notes.

Refs! Ughhhh! Here's my take, the Worst in order: NBA Refs are the worst, followed by MLB Umpires, then the NHL are fairly good and I think NFL Refs are pretty good! Just my take.

Wes,

Thanks!

"That scared me a little. That wasn't even human."


Great stuff.


Tom D.

I was joking Art, I think people are thinking I wrote that. I didn't, thats all.


Wes

Wes,

Thank you for sharing that article. Don't you hate how cnnsi puts that garbage
in when you cut and paste? :)

To everyone else ( Haters & Trolls included),

Are you ready for this? KOBE IS COMING!

He is going to leave EVERYTHING on the floor tonight! COUNT ON IT!

The questions remain:

Will Pau finally play like a big man or will he play soft?

Will Bynum play like a beast or like a ghost?

Will the Machine be called into service?

Will Artest take his shot on the road?

Will the Lakers "bang" with Mbenga?

It is *EXACTLY* for this reason that I bought a nice TV. My entire day
is scheduled around 5:30 pm.

There is nothing modern about today. This is old school. This is historic.
This is revenge & redemption. The next step on the path to glory.

Nothing but the classics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gz3Cc7wlfkI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwGPFlva9uQ&feature=related

for those who are older, do you remember the movie "Excalibur"?

[ note: this clip is *NOT* for the squeamish. you have been warned. ]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rA8MeJFRh04&feature=related

wesjoenixon, as a lurker over the last 3 years, I have always enjoyed your posts. And I totally agree with your thoughts on Kobe vs LeBron. Thanks for the effort and energy you inject into the blog.
I enjoy and appreciate the energy and passion of all the true Laker blog family comments. I come here on a regular basis to get my Laker fix.
And Art-Fl Lakers Fan, I agree, I thnk PJ will try and make Nash a scorer vs passing and involving the role players.
I think defense, rebounds and turnovers are going to the key.

Wes, great read its true laker fans like you that keep me coming back to this blog .Thanks.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/ian_thomsen/05/28/countdown/index.html

Kobe Bryant is No. 1. LeBron James was undoubtedly the regular-season MVP, and his talent is peerless. But when it comes to getting things done when all is otherwise lost, no one is better than Bryant. After reportedly having more than an ounce of fluid drained from his swollen right knee in the opening round of the playoffs, Bryant has averaged 32.5 points in his last 10 playoff games and has scored 295 points in nine games while shooting 52.4 percent. He has created 43 assists over the last four games.

If it were possible to quantify a statistic to recognize talent and focus on winning important games, no one would rank higher than Bryant. He went through those long mid-career seasons of being viewed as a failure against his potential. But that baggage was abandoned a couple of years ago. He is now cashing in relentlessly.

The Lakers had lost two in a row at Phoenix when 6-6 Bryant -- in his 1,211th career game -- found the energy to respond with 30 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists and four blocks. When it was time for the Lakers to make a big play around him, Ron Artest lunged across the lane to pluck a Bryant air-ball and bank in the game-winner at the buzzer to put the Lakers up 3-2 in the series.

Artest has sought validation all year from Bryant. He clearly wants to be viewed as a champion and a peer in Bryant's eyes. Bryant understands this and he has applied it to make the Artest experiment work thus far, to overcome all of the potential difficulties that have emerged throughout Artest's previous seasons. When Artest made that shot he instinctively turned away from his bench and ran to Bryant for a certifying hug. Their celebration says everything about Bryant's unique form of leadership, which is based on his ability to command respect.

Now think about James, who finds himself in the limbo of possibilities as he exercises his right to free agency amid frustration with his team's inability to reach the NBA Finals. Bryant was in the same frustrating place a few years ago when he demanded a trade in hope of forcing his way back into championship contention. Then the Lakers acquired Pau Gasol, and now Bryant is on the verge of a third straight run to the Finals and a second championship in a row.

Bryant needed years of experience to learn how to lead, and he also needed a proper blend of talent that could be led. At this moment he holds the advantage over James in both categories.

READ MORE ABOUT LEBRON'S FREE AGENCY

• Big men are relevant. The NBA rules have been revised to liberate perimeter players, and point guards in particular. Defenders can't hand-check on the fringes of the court, enabling the quicker players to create space to drive or shoot. But size still wins.

Look at Dwight Howard, who has never been more intimidating than in the Magic's two victories to force a Game 6 Friday. Not only has he been clobbering the Celtics' big men, he has also been inflicting foul trouble across their front line.

The rules call for two styles in every NBA game -- patty-cake above the foul line, and greco-roman below it. The difference has been viewed as being unfair to Howard, who can be double-teamed and hammered in the paint. But he has turned that dynamic to his advantage by becoming the aggressor and forcing the Celtics to stop him by fouling him.

In turn the Celtics have renewed themselves around a trio of long defenders in Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace and Glen Davis -- with the latter three capable of shooting from the perimeter to draw big men away from the basket.

Even Robin Lopez (8.4 points, 4.9 rebounds during the season) has been viewed as crucial against the Lakers' 14 feet of big men.

Then there is Lakers 7-foot forward Pau Gasol, who was viewed as soft while being victimized two years ago in the Finals by Boston. Hasn't he put that past behind him? Gasol was impressive defensively against Howard in last year's Finals, and in this postseason he has averaged a sensational 20.7 points, 11.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.9 blocks. Gasol applies his European sensibilities to produce in a variety of ways, whether it's out on the floor or in the post. He bears little resemblance to the player who succumbed to Garnett in '08.

• Zone defense is still under construction. The Suns worked their way back from a 2-0 deficit by relying on the zone more than any postseason team has done since it became legalized in 2001-02. Coaches have remained stubborn to fully deploy the zone, considering it to be a passive device.

Think about how much the NBA has changed over the last decade of the new defensive rules. All you hear coaches discuss now is the need for ball movement, which wasn't as much of a priority in the previous era of boring isolation play.

The pragmatic Suns weren't ashamed to do whatever they could to extend their conference final, and they've created a new awareness for the zone's potential. This is a copy-cat league and I bet we'll see more of the zone next season, which will lead to offenses responding with more ball movement and dribble-drive penetration (the latter is being sold by coaching candidate John Calipari).

Now consider this: Commissioner David Stern told me in December that the league will consider doing away with the three-second limit on defenders in the lane, which would result in a European approach to team defense based on zone principles. Styles and strategies will continue to grow.

Man, Ron really wants to do good in Kobe's eyes. I also thought that Ron was not at all excited until he saw Kobe running toward him with open arms. Then Ron tried to jump into Kobe's arms like a baby to mamma. Of course, Kobe couldn't hold him up and Ron quickly slid back down. Also, there were 3 different things that Ron did on that last play that saved the game for the Lakers. First, he moved toward the ball when no one else was moving. Fisher joined him in scuttling toward the basket after a few moments, followed by Gasol, Fry and I think Dudely. But because no one was moving but Ron while the ball was in the air (why? Why was no one moving?), Ron got there 1st. Next, he was able to completely overpower Richardson who definately had inside position to rebound the ball. Ron went thru dudley like Qui Chang Cane went thru cowboy ruffians. Finally, Ron banked the ball off the top of the backboard instead of trying to bank it at a less risky angle. I thought directly above the rim would have been the best angle, a sharper angle maybe, but Dudley looked like he may have blocked it had Ron gone that route. Anyway, 3 good decisions in one play by Ron.


See for yourself, again: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DzmUMfiqTA&feature=related


Wes

I think the fact that Kobe has made so many game winners just caused the whole world to freeze at the moment he took the shot, and like the guy in "Tommyknockers" who has the steel plate in his head and thus is immue to the brain invasion by the aliens, Ron's living and oprating in another plane of existance allowed him to avoid the psychic quicksand of Kobe's unavoidable last-second heroics and find, grab, and properly place the ball in the hoop where it belongs.


Wes

Bynum showed improvement in game 5. I like his defense better than Gasol's.
Nash made all of his shots when Gasol ended up guarding him from a switch. Bynum blocked a jump shot through a switch. He was also quicker that time covering the lane. Gasol, late in the game, was avoiding fouling.

@WESJOENIXON, You earned free Tacos for a month with that Article.
OUT FREAKING STANDING WES, JOE & NIXON!!
MAMBA24

Hobbit,


Doesn't matter what age you are (well, as long as you're not 3), "Excaliber" is a movie to see again and again. John Boorman is just a great, gritty filmmaker, and I can watch that film over and over. You know he had a 700 page script for Lord of the Rings? That would have been a very serious, very bloody version.


Wes

“Nash don't lie. “
Posted by: BUTLER | May 29, 2010 at 03:54 AM
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Unbelievable !!! Is there any other poster so dedicated that he makes RCOD posts at 3.54 a.m.
Time to end the contest and make this troll the official Lakers Blog Reader Commenter of the Day.

Great article, WesJoe

Kobe said this series and the kind of game that they're about to play, is the fun part of his job. He's aware how gut wrenching it may be for all of us, but he's enjoying this.

More than anything else, that separates Kobe. When Shaq fouled out in overtime of game 5 against Indianapolis, Kobe later said, "the game just got a whole lot more interesting". Laker fans remember how that one worked out.

We just need 5 more of those.

Unbelievable !!! Is there any other poster so dedicated that he makes RCOD posts at 3.54 a.m. Time to end the contest and make this troll the official Lakers Blog Reader Commenter of the Day. Posted by: LakerTom | May 29, 2010 at 09:10 AM
NOOOOOOO! ROFLMFAO!!!

I think the Lakers need to play their best game of the season to beat the Suns and the refs. We should know how the game is going to be called the first time Amare puts his shoulder down and bulls his way to the basket through Bynum or whoever. If we get called for a foul, its going to be a long night. I think Kobe, Gasol & company can overcome it, but they must play HUGE.
Another key will be stopping their bench. I liked what I saw from Sasha. He can be a real asset off the bench.

Okay, the nightmare is over. The teams that could have beaten us like Denver, Dallas and Cleveland were eliminated by others for us and left us with the easiest playoff games from either confernce. This is our year, and we can do it all, and go all the way. But we need to changes for the next year, because we might not be so lucky again!

So go Lakers Go

SOME STATS AFTER FIRST 5 GAMES:

-- LAKERS PTS IN THE PAINT (dunks/layups) 139 attempted leading to 232 points.

-- SUNS PTS IN THE PAINT 124 attempted leading to 178 points

-- LAKERS 3 PTS FG 42 of 117 - 36%

-- SUNS 3 PTS FG 40 of 123 - 32%

-- LAKERS REBOUNDS - 207

-- SUNS REBOUNDS- 199

CONCLUSION: lakers are winning the inside and outside game.

SO HOW ARE THE SUNS BEATING US??

-- LAKERS TOTAL FT 112.. SUNS TOTAL FREE THROWS 161... -49 DISPARITY

Jon K - Thanks for the love man. I'm glad you enjoyed the article. We got a new post up as well.

MM

The Suns fans are into this series....

Last night, hitting our usual Friday restaurant. I couldn't help but notice that ALL the food servers, Bartenders, cooks, busboys, and hostesses, were wearing Suns jersey's over orange T Shirts.

And me? Not one piece of Lakers clothing. I felt ashamed.

It was no excuse that it was my daughter's HS graduation night and I was dressed in a suit.

Even she had the Lakers spirit. She had her nails done with purple and gold to honor the Lakers.

If Edwin were here, I would expect a lecture for letting my team down. And he would be right to do so.

Are you wearing your colors today? I hope so. As we remember, these late playoff runs don't come around every year. We need to enjoy and take advantage of every moment.

Fatty - Who confidently predicts, the Lakers will becoming back tonight bringing their old friend home with them. The Western Conference Title Trophy.

Dear Dr Buss and GM Mitch Kupchack if you are reading which I doubt,

I scouted a player that is a possibility for the Lakers based on draft placement etc., and here's some help:
If you are reading this, this is something that is beyond the point of this blog topic, but have to get off my chest:
Whoever drafts Grievis Vasquez this year is gonna be very very happy customer in 2 to 3 years (I say 2 years because rookies don't get a lot of playing time, and the NBA is different beast suited for players that can adapt to that difference, and it takes players time to learn and adapt to the NBA.

Lakers should do whatever you can do to draft this guy or attain his rights somehow. You'll regret it in 2 to 3 years mark my words!!!! Trade Farmar, (keep Sasha) trade Powell, Mbenga, or sign and trade Morrison, but do something this summer. MARK MY WORDS, he's gonna make an NBA team very happy in 2 to 3 years (he's gonna learn his first year playing about 10 minutes his first year with a lot of trial and errors. His second year he's gonna have to become a starter and play huge minutes a MINIMUM of 30, if my prediction is to come true I say 30 because this is when he's gonna be in that zone where he's gonna sink or swim. It's gonna be trial end error for the first few games to couple of weeks possibly months, but he'll learn his way through all of it and it will be worth it in the end.

I don't think that the Lakers will want to give him that kind of time, so in this regard, he should go to a team that has the abilty to let him learn through trial and error). He's gonna be clutch for some team however (he has Kobe's exact killer instict bordering a little more manic IMO) that is willing to take a risk in 2 to 3 years time and be willing to give him minutes because I'm confident he's gonna learn quick. In my opinion it's not a risk, but if you are management you have to go by numbers. I'm not basing it on numbers which are still good, but on just 3 games that I watched him in this year which showed to me his determination to win in any way possible, the guy is a diamond in the rough still.
Someone took a risk on Steve Nash a while back. I'm basing all of this not just on numbers which are still good, but mostly on his endless energy and determination all qualities that will make him a very fine player for some team who is willing to do as I suggest. But they have to give him the time necessary to adapt to the NBA.

DO NOT PASS UP ON THIS SUMMER'S BIGGEST UNDERRATED POINT GUARD.

This was a beautiful thread of comments, and not an half bad article either, FCM. This is when the blog reaches its highest potential, when it is just people talking basketball. Probably better content in this comment section than any other actual blog article this week. Wait, probably? Well, i haven't read them all.


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