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Photo Caption Contest: Ron Artest and Paul Pierce getting up close and personal

July 1, 2010 | 11:25 am

We interrupt the free-agent news to bring you another reminder of why you love Ron Artest so much. It's unclear which game this encounter took place in the series. But most fans vividly remember the opening tip of Game 1 of the NBA Finals, with Artest locking arms with the Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce. Both fell to the ground and were assessed technical fouls. At the time, the Lakers thought that play helped set the tone in their 102-89 Game 1 victory and showed that they were a much different team than in their 2008 Finals loss to Boston.

This picture captures the intensity rather well and leads to the inevitable question about whether Artest was about to kiss Pierce on the lips. But this is far from a love story. Pierce obviously looks flustered with his mouth hung open and his headband out of place. Meanwhile, Artest is staring straight ahead with his eyes and forearm locked on Pierce, seemingly suggesting that there's no way Artest will cede an inch to Pierce.

The best caption to this photo will be featured in Friday's links post.

-- Mark Medina

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Photo: Lakers forward Ron Artest and Celtics forward Paul Pierce nearly come to blows with each other in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Credit: Associated Press.