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Ron Artest will celebrate 31st birthday tonight by watching Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito fight

For someone who says he hasn't received a memorable birthday gift growing up beyond a new pair of "Air Jordan's," Lakers forward Ron Artest will at least receive a cool present for his 31st birthday.

His birthday today coincides with WBC super welterweight title fight tonight at 6 between Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito. Artest, a staunch boxing fan, wishes he could attend the fight at Cowboy Stadium, but he decided otherwise considering the Lakers play Sunday at Staples Center to Phoenix.

"It's not worth the loss tomorrow," said Artest, who also has a birthday party lined up at the Conga Room at L.A. Live following the Phoenix game, an event that will feature Faith Evans and will raise money for mental health charities.

Still, Artest plans to wear a Pacquiao shirt during the fight and even shared a bold prediction on the outcome.

"I think Margarita is going to be dehydrated," Artest said. "I think Pacquiao is probably going to knock him out."

--Mark Medina

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Good to see that Artest likes the clean fighter over the dirty one.

Ron defers for the sake of a win! Yeah, baby!

Yay! Go Pacquiao!

Go Pacquiao!

@LROB… “Yep, Lakers team as good as advertised. Kobe's shot selection, Pau's toughness, LO's consistency, Fish's productivity, PJ's rotations...are all just sidebars to keep us interested til May.”

THAT is my selection for RCOD. Your basketball IQ and perspective in analyzing and understanding of the game rivals your encyclopedic knowledge of the music industry. We may all be members of the worldwide Lakers family but like any family, there is your side and the in-laws and a million other factions that comprise the family as a whole. To put it another way, while we’re all Lakerholics, many of us are also Kobeholics, Gasoholics, and Bynumholics and sometimes we allow our factional points of view to emotionally and temporarily overthrow our guiding Lakerholism.

Too many fans on this blog allow their factional fandom to get out of hand (myself included at times), thus starting internecine spats and battles to break out among the family, which is why it is always dicey to criticize Kobe, who definitely has been a ball hog and PART of why we lost the Denver game. But ball hog or not, the main reason we lost to the Nuggets was our porous and uninspired defense. Without doubt, Bynum returning will be a tremendous help defensively because of his size, toughness, and intimidation. But this team has shown before without Bynum that they can play much better defense than they’ve done so far this short season. That’s why Phil was almost pleased by the loss.

The key to maintaining sanity and optimism during and after a loss is keep perspective, to realize that no team is going to win every game, to understand that the players – even the greats like Kobe Bryant – are human and are going to have occasional off days. Kobe knows that teams always try to make him a volume shooter and understands why we need better shot distribution. Pau knows that he got intimidated by Nene and needs to not allow his mental weakness to undermine his superior talent and ability. Phil knows that this team can play much better defense without Drew than they have so far and probably deliberately contributed to the team losing to Denver to make that point. Bottom line, as you so aptly condensed it, the Lakers are as good as advertised – or maybe better.


LT - excellent observations, and I agree with your props for LRob. I don't hang out here as much as in the 'old days' but whenever I swing by, I'm always reminded of how good the writing here can be.

@Laker Tom/dave m - thank you for the kind words.

@LT - I agree that most of us have our favorite Lakers which tend to skew our analysis. I like what ArtFl said about a week ago. He said criticism of player x was valid, but where was the criticism for the rest of the team.

When the whole Kobe/Shaq tug of war was taking place I was more of a Kobe guy because of his work ethic and dedication. Yet in the 04 finals I was critical of Kobe for his stubbornness in shooting the Lakers out of gm 4, when Shaq was converting at a near 80%. When Kobe made his trade demands I was hoping that management would resolve the situation without trading him (the same I hoped for Shaq), but if he would’ve been traded I would’ve said arrivederci because NO ONE is bigger than the organization.

A lot of you guys have been posting for awhile and thus your viewpoint of key players/decisions has been documented for scrutiny. So I'll a quick update on my thoughts for the record:

I Blamed PJ for saying it was Shaq’s team, thus creating a division.

I was against signing Fish in 07. Boy was I wrong.

I was against trading Bynum, but was hoping the Lakers could package LO and anybody else to get KG. (pipe dream)

Thought Pau played soft in 08 finals.

Felt re-signing Odom was a must in 09.

And of course, was in agreement with all of the moves this summer except acquiring of Theo.

Random thoughts on tonights game...

Finally Brook Lopez (23pts/5reb)rose to the challenge against Howard (16/10 with foul trouble). Remember last wk Howard had 31pts/16reb while holding Lopez to 10pts on 3-17 shooting.

Utah came back from another 4Qtr double digit deficit and won on a nice tear drop from DWill.

NO is winning with defense. Only giving up 90pts per game.

BRoy only had 2pts on 6 shots tonite vs. NO. His sore knee was bothering him. He hasn't looked right this season, that's why I didn't give Ron Ron & Lakers much credit for holding him to 6pts. Don't get me wrong the Lakers did a very good job on Roy, but he clearly wasn't himself.

Richard Jefferson is a big reason why SA is 7-1. Avg 19pts while shooting 59% including 53% from 3pt. He's comfortable in SA system now and playing like RJ of old. Also the Spurs has had a very easy schedule thus far. They've only played one team that currently has an above 500 record and they lost that game (N.O)

Hmmmm...... looks like I'm the only morning crue poster.... You guys are right though - it's an ungodly hour to be on here. I need to go take a nap. Then get some caffeine.

Much props to Laker Tom & LRob - you both add so much to keep the quality of writing on here sky high.

Then there's me.... LOL!!!

Looking forward to the game tonight. More thoughts later when there are some that wake up... :)

Good Morning Lakerholics!! Yea!!!Game Day!!! Just read where Nash welcomed his baby boy into the world and then proceeded to say they were getting a divorce.That might make for a very determined Nash. What is up with Utah? They have won 5 in a row and many good teams on the road. Good points LAKER TOM and LROB, always enjoy your imput and knowledge of the game.

hey buddddo u need to get to at least +2 today with ur picks. try usin this. the boss uses it and he is+11. he said it likes a sports drudge. everything is in one area so ull be able to get ur info faster. gluck today..

I agree with Tom about lack of defense being more of a problem than star players trying to win it for the team.

Nice observation about NO"s defense, I've only seen them once this year, but seems there is some good chemistry there.

Chemistry beats biology. I think Miami has the A+ in biology, but chemistry is a C.. . LaBong seems to be weak in his english too, iffy don't lead.

Our Lakers are stong in Chemistry, and the return of AB will strenghten our Biology....not to mention History..

The addition of Theo is okay....though he is old. The veteran try to play within the system no matter how long/short he is on the floor...The rookies should play more minutes so LO and Gasol can rest...
The defeat in Denver is a giveaway....If Phil wanted to win, he could have put Lamar at the end, bu he dicided not to so he can rest. Gasol was also tired, so I don't think it would be a good idea to work hard for the last 3 minutes just to win the game and have LO and Pau exhuasted. Phil just let Kobe do his thing...but what i notice was he tried to shoot 3 to also save his energy....So relax Lakerfans, our team knows what they are doing...If you look at other teams, our team is far superior...What I want from them out of regular season is to get the most win in the West and a better record on the Celtics and Magic....

md I like your perspective,

Happy Birthday Ron Ron...

Manny Pac man with the unheard of 8 titles...bringing the giant down...

Pound for pound baybee!!!



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