Artest Gets The Attention He Craves
Ron Artest doesn’t just like attention, he craves it.
He’ll do anything he can to get it. He’ll color his hair orange. He’ll shave his head into weird configurations. He’ll say things that are dumb and dumber. Whatever it takes, he’ll do it.
He reminds you of a little kid desperately trying to get his mom to notice him.
Well, Thursday night at Staples Center, everyone noticed him. He went into brainlock twice in the final minute, taking two three-pointers, the first one bad, the second one worse, considering it was only three seconds into the shot clock and the Lakers already had a three-point lead.
Naturally, he misssed both of them. He has been missing most of the long-distance shots he’s put up in these Western Conference Finals.
Moments later, though, with just 3.5 seconds left in regulation, Kobe Bryant took the shot everyone in the building knew was coming. Unfortunately, he had two defenders draped all over him and a terrible angle. The ball landed short of the rim.
But you know who was there waiting, don’t you? Yep, our friend Artest, who made a nice, aggressive move to get it and throw in the follow, giving the Lakers the victory and turning Staples into pandemonium.
That enough attention for you, Ron?
This is who Artest is. You can love him or hate him, sometimes both in the same quarter. He is a gritty defender and rebounder but he is not, and never has been, the outside shooter he thinks he is.
But you know what you do with him? You live with him, the way Phil Jackson did on Thursday, even though he admittedly considered taking him out of the game after those two stupid threes.
Artest giveth and taketh away. He is who he is.
What you have to ask yourself after Thursday is this: What really are the Lakers at this point?
Barely surviving by two points at home in Game 5 doesn’t bode well for Game 6 Saturday in Phoenix. The Suns should rightfully be favored to win and send this to a Game 7.
If it comes down to Monday night in L.A., well, the Lakers need to stay in the kind of rhythm they demonstrated early in Game 5. They were cruising by 18, then relaxed and allowed the Suns and their reserves to crawl back in it.
Lesson 1 of this series: You can’t relax in the conference finals. Not ever.
Not unless you want this whole thing to come down to another wild, unpredictable Ron Artest finish.
Crucial parts of the baseball season often arrive at different times.
For the Angels, this could be their time. Shaky through the first two months, they’ve played somewhat better of late. Now they get an 11-game stretch against Seattle and Kansas City, two teams that are a collective 18 games under .500.
If Mike Scioscia’s club is hoping to make a move, this would seem like the perfect opportunity.
They’re four games behind Texas today. If they haven’t slashed that total at least in half by the time these next 11 games are over, well, maybe what we’ve watched through the first two stumbling months is what we’re going to get the rest of the season.
Funny, isn’t it? At one point last year, every single player in the Angels’ lineup was hitting .300. As they head into Friday night’s game with the Mariners, no one in the current lineup is hitting .300.
Whatever else happens, it seems difficult, if not impossible, to win the division without at least one .300 hitter.
— Steve Bisheff