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Ron Artest attributes his playoff consistency to scaling back his preparation

Artest The Lakers' most consistent presence through two playoff games has come from an unlikely source, none other than Ron Artest.

He's averaged 15.5 points on 45.5% shooting and 8.5 rebounds in 34.5 minutes per contest, a stark improvement from the numbers he posted in the regular season with a career-low 8.5 points on only 39.7% shooting in 29.4 minutes per game. Artest attributed the turnaround to decreasing his workload of off-court conditioning and shooting exercises since the All-Star break, though he didn't reveal specifics.

"I used to be in the gym a lot," said Artest, who averaged 15.5 points on 45.5% shooting in 34.6 minutes per game following the All-Star break. "I can't do it now. You can't be here shooting and wasting your legs."

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson pointed out that Artest's consistency through two games has helped alleviate the poor shooting numbers, such as Game 2, in which Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher combined for a seven-of-29 clip.

"He's filling the gaps," Jackson said of Artest. "There's a need, and he is filling the needs. We have guys who aren't playing up to their level, and he's filling in what we need to have guys fill in with scoring."

Artest has shown that capability by grabbing rebounds when Gasol and Lamar Odom didn't in Game 1. He made big shots in Game 2 when Bryant didn't. And he's brought an effort that most of the team severely lacked in Game 1, prompting Jackson to say that he was the best player in the game. As much as Artest avoids over-analyzing his performances, there's a value in his recognition that sometimes less is more.

There were countless practices this season during which he stayed in the gym when no one was there, putting up shots. Although that approach definitely discredited any notion that he wasn't as hungry as last year for a championship ring, the activity didn't really equate to achievement. He continued to appear lost in the offense, uncomfortable with a diminished role because of Matt Barnes, and his offseason effort in slimming down to 250 pounds to guard speedy scorers came with mixed results.

"I know I'm getting older, so I'm trying to conserve energy," Artest said. "You want to come in shape obviously. But when you play in the games during the season, you'll get in shape. The game will take care of itself and your conditioning if you play hard."

Just don't ask Artest to provide specifics on the degree to which he's scaled back. "If I write it down, I'd remember. But I don't write it." But in a way, that's the reason why Artest thrives in bigger moments, such as the playoffs. His performances have shown that the less he's thinking, the better he performs. That doesn't necessarily mean that will improve his fluidity in the offense, but oftentimes his over-thinking made him afraid to make mistakes. That's also what prompted him to shoot so much in practice, believing that eventually he could shoot himself out of a slump.

When I was younger, I worked out too much," Artest said. "It affected my game. I never had energy in the game. In the playoffs last year, I was working out a lot, but then I stopped. I saved my energy for the game. I had big games and big shooting games, and it wasn't because I was working on my shot. I learned how to rest and stay in shape."

-- Mark Medina

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Photo: The Lakers' Ron Artest beats the Hornets' Chris Paul to a pass in the first round of the NBA playoffs at Staples Center Sunday. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

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Maybe I'm late with this, but here's a MUST read on our young, blossoming center, Andrew Bynum, for those who have not read it:

Go Ron!

Can Artest be the Lakers championship hero 2 years in a row? Lets hope so!

Just don't ask Artest to provide specifics on to what degree he's scaled back. "If I write it down, I'd remember. But I don't write it."


Ron does not want to mention that he scaled back on singing Celine Dion karaoke songs:

BULIMIC: “so you mean that when Gasol plays WELL, he makes up for Bynum's shitty play, or for him being on the bench in foul trouble, or for him going 3-10 or 5-13 or missing 0-6 on the FT line?”
Gasol has played terribly in both playoff games, with an EFF per game score of 11 (61st place among playoff players) while Drew had an EFF score of 22 per game (15th place among playoff players) – which says Drew has performed exactly twice as well as Pau so far in these playoffs. Wish I could find a fool who was willing to bet that Pau was going to have a better series than Drew. Is that you?
BULIMIC: “your Bynum homerism is becoming disgusting. not the fact that you want Gasol ,to play bad, but actually is your personal hatred for Kobe, regardless if you are saying the opposite. I smell a Shaq fan, especially with your pedigree of Wilt, Kareem and now Bynum.”
What is disgusting are quasi-fans like you whose only interest is in dumping on Lakers players or other Lakers bloggers. Kobe is my favorite player, Drew is my second favorite player, and I would not trade Pau for any other power forward in the league. And for the record, I supported Kobe through the ordeal in Colorado as well as the conflict with Shaq, whom I have disliked since he left the Lakers. Don’t look now but you better take Shaq’s advice and check where that smell is coming from.
BULIMIC: “I can't believe that after only 2 games, with Okafor on the bench - remember ha was in both games in foul trouble - you are finding some statistic and crowning Bynum as MVP.”
First off, Okafor was in foul trouble because he could not guard Drew. And even with the Game 1 foul trouble that limited him to just 25 minutes, Drew posted more points, boards, and blocks than Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom combined. If Drew continues to play like this, he will be the team MVP and you will be the blogs LVB – Least Valuable Blogger – proof that you can lead a horse to water but you cannot force him to drink, especially if his foot is stuck in his mouth all the time.
BULIMIC: “Laker Tom, please let us know when Bynum WILL CARRY the team on his shoulders and will be the "go to guy" to win the game.”
Did you watch last night’s game? Bynum was the best player on the court and almost every article about the game said the exact same thing. Maybe if you watched the game instead of writing scathing posts insulting fellow Lakers fans you would learn something about basketball, which you obviously have never played personally and have little understanding of.

Supposing Ariza & Gasol did not join the Lakers, we continued with Kwame, JCritt, Marc G and two 1st round draft picks, would the Lakers get the NBA trophy for two consecutive seasons? When Drew was injured due to knee rehab and Pau took the Center position and Lakers were winning 8 in a row, can Marc G. assure us of that stellar role? Would Kobe re-sign with the Lakers if Kwame is still our C and got no 2nd or 3rd scorer on hand? Would PJ come back to coach on '10 season? There are more questions paused if Pau was not a Laker.

The answer my friends has been blown by the winds of history, it could have been a disaster if Pau has not come to LA? On a Maundy Thursday, are we going to crucify him for his placid performance in 2010 playoffs? Is he over after two games has been played against an eight seed who are targeting Pau the hardest fouls? I think the full show is not over, it may be practice rounds but give more time for Pau, more games to be played before writing his obituary.

Posted by: Edwin Gueco | April 21, 2011 at 03:50 PM

Kobe # 1 and Pau # 2 punch, no ifs ands butts. Pau has given Bynum the luxury of taking his time to heal as well.

Have been putting in a lot of time at work and haven't had much time for the blog. Today was a good time to catch up.

Kobe and Pau took a pretty good beating last night. With very few free throws to show for it.

Pau needs to make a few adjustments to his game. #1...After grabbing a rebound, he needs to "chin" the ball. Put the ball under his chin and spread his elbows. Drew does this all the time, and it immediately sends the opposing team back on defense. It's a perfectly legal move and keeps defenses from trying to swipe the ball. #2...Pau has to retaliate for all the hard fouls he takes. Pick a spot...choose a play and level somebody with a good, hard, clean playoff foul. It's a part of the game he has to embrace. Landry and Gray were swinging on Pau like mad last night. Pau has to swing back.

I think a lot of folks disregarded the Hornets as playoff fodder. To me, their strong showing thus far is not surprising. They won 46 games in the wild, wild West. They are a very good defensive team. Their quickness provides a real challenge for The Show. There is NO easy team in these playoffs...east or west.

The pressure shifts to the Hornets back now. They have to defend their home court. I look for the Lakers to play well on the road.

17 IN '11!!!

@ bronxlakerfan - "Kobe and Pau took a pretty good beating last night. With very few free throws to show for it."
Can't really speak for Pau, but I thought Kobe had a GREAT game last night. He did all of the small things. He ran the offense and got Andrew, Lamar, and Gasol the ball. He got them touches and kept that defense honest by driving. Additionally, Kobe's defense on Paul was very very good.
Paul scored 20 points, but 8 of those were off of stupid mistakes by Kobe. What Kobe and the Lakers' defense did was get that Hornets offense out of sync...out of sync because Kobe and the Lakers' scheme would not let Chris Paul be Chris Paul by doing a good job of forcing the ball out of his hands. Chris Paul played a good game, but Kobe kept him from taking over the game on the defensive end.
Usually Kobe wins games by contributing on the offensive end, but last night I felt Kobe helped win the game defensively.

hip hip hurray..hip hip hurray..hip hip hurray..hip hip hurray..hip hip hurray..

Long live Ron the great!!Long live Ron the great!!Long live Ron the great!!Long live Ron the great!!Long live Ron the great!!Long live Ron the great!!Long live Ron the great!!Long live Ron the great!!Long live Ron the great!!Long live Ron the great!!Long live Ron the great!!Long live Ron the great!!Long live Ron the great!!Long live Ron the great!!Long live Ron the great!!Long live Ron the great!!Long live Ron the great!!Long live Ron the great!!Long live Ron the great!!Long live Ron the great!!Long live Ron the great!!

BYNUM FACTION is out on full steam with the propaganda!! Have we we read, re read, read and re read every little article that has ever been written in praise of Bynum?

Bynum faction is resposisble fro bringing the Google search engine to a crawl while searching for every bit of info Bynum?

Is this obsession?

Bynum faction has been very critical of Pau, putting him in negative light, and literally crucifying the man who brought lakers 2 championship.

Bynum faction has punched Pau while he has been down, that is a cheap shot!

This is one reason why we can't gain respect to this particular troll. He will use someone's post for his convenience to drive a point at the same time creating a wedge of doubt among bloggers. Nothing positive nor negative but just post something silly but that is his style of intriguing people.

There is no competition between Bynum and Pau, they're both teammates. Of course, they have their own legion of fans which is fine. If they have no fans then they are forgettable. As Laker fans, we embrace both players and hopefully they act as a team as one-two punch in the post.

Each season bring glory or heartbreak in the world of sports. Gasol has to be counted for this season not the last two or three. He is not being payed for his lst two season but for this one, all year he has played soft and uncaring as if something is bothering him. His mind is not focus on the task so he goes back to being soft. Some one needs too light a fire up his you know what.

Is there a reason we're stuck on annoying? Is there areason we're stuck on annoying? Is there a reason we're stuck on annoying?


Allen Iverson: Practice? See, I told you so!

@jefe101...agree completely about Kobe's game 2. He played great defense and changed things around. Had he gotten to the line a few times when he deserved it, his offensive numbers would have looked a lot better, too.

Artest averaged 9.8 points on 39.6% shooting in 32 minutes per games after the All-Star break. Not "15.5 points on 45.5% shooting in 34.6 minutes per game" as this article suggests.

@Chris what article were you reading? It states Arrest averaged 15.5 points per game in the 2 playoff games There's no mention of his play after the all star break. You should comprehend what youre reading before making critical comments.

@Jonathan- I strongly suggest you read the whole article and not just the title, before you throw out insults and insinuate someone else did not read an article when you obviously didn't yourself. I did indeed read the article, and comprehended it greatly. So much so, that I found a mistake written within the article. To help you out, since you don't want to seem to read the whole article to find the mistake yourself, I'll post it for you:

"I used to be in the gym a lot," said Artest, who averaged 15.5 points on 45.5% shooting in 34.6 minutes per game following the All-Star break. "I can't do it now. You can't be here shooting and wasting your legs."

So before you hurl our critical comments yourself, maybe read and comprehend the entire article.



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