What To Do With Ron Artest

Darius Soriano —  May 3, 2010

[picappgallerysingle id="8683828"]
A quick programming note: FB&G will be off-line from 10pm to midnight PST this evening (May 3rd) due to a scheduled maintenance on the site’s server.  I apologize in advance for any inconvenience.

Lebron James.  Carmelo Anthony.  Paul Pierce.  Kevin Durant.  Brandon Roy.  While this is an amended list, it’s these (types of) players that the Lakers were thinking of when they signed Ron Artest as a free agent.  Sure, the Lakers were optimistic that Ron’s all around offensive game would mesh in with the Triangle, but we’d be kidding ourselves if we didn’t acknowledge that improving the Lakers defense wasn’t on the minds of Mitch Kupchak and Phil Jackson when the green light was given on this acquisition.  However when looking at that list of great wing scorers, you don’t see a member of the Utah Jazz.  And that fact led to a couple of interesting comments in the lead up to this series:

Mamula: “It will be interesting to see who will Ron Artest be guarding in this series. He is not quick enough to put on Deron. Wesley Matthews and CJ Miles are not really explosive constant scorers, even though they have their moments from time to time.”

Ray: “Is it just me, or should we just put Fisher or Kobe on D. Will? I love Artest, but I don’t think he can handle his speed.”

So, at this point, the question must be asked – who is the best person for Artest to guard?  In game 1, Phil Jackson started Artest on CJ Miles and then moved him onto Deron when Fisher picked up an early foul.  And while Ron did an okay job on Williams, I think Mamula and Ray’s concerns were valid in that Deron’s quickness and ability to change directions did at times leave Ron flatfooted and out of position.  Now, that’s nothing to be ashamed off as Williams is a headache for nearly every defender and slowing him down will always be a team effort and not one that can be assigned to one player.  But is this the best use of Ron’s defensive skills? 

At this point, I think it’s fair to say that Williams is going to accumulate his stats against any defender the Lakers throw up against him.  Whether it’s Kobe, Shannon, or Fisher, Williams is just too good a player to stop completely and even slowing him down is a serious chore.  So, should we really be sending Ron out there against him?  I’m acutally not sure it’s the best approach. (On a side note, Fisher actually does a good job against Deron – it must be all that practice time against him from when Fish was on the Jazz.)

In game one, Wesley Matthews and CJ Miles combined for 30 points on 24 shots.  And while these aren’t the most efficient numbers, they do highlight the fact that these two guys are threats.  And when you consider that Miles (34% on threes this season) only made 1 of his 5 attempts from behind the arc but had several wide open looks from distance that just missed, this point total could have been much worse from the Lakers perspective.  Just looking at those point totals for those players, it reminds me of the boxscore from the lone Jazz win during the regular season where the team had tremendous scoring balance and was able to spread the scoring load around enough to earn the 8 point win.  And it’s those types of team efforts on offense that will be needed to beat the Lakers.

As Kevin at TrueHoop expressed yesterday, the Jazz face some daunting disadvantages in this match up.  If they are going to overcome them, they can’t just rely on their typical exploits from Boozer and Millsap to pull them through.  And even if Deron goes off in the way that he did against Denver, it will still take some better than just solid performances from some of Utah’s supporting players on the wing.  That means Miles, Matthews, and Korver will need to step up their games and perform well.  So why not deploy Artest in full on ‘defending Durant’ mode to shut one of these guys out?  Wouldn’t that go further in helping to secure a win than throwing him on Deron for extended streches?  Especially when it really will be a team effort where switches, double teams, and strong side zone looks are likely to be deployed in slowing the Jazz all-star PG?  Maybe I’m off base with this.  What do you think?  What should the Lakers do with Ron Artest?

Darius Soriano

Posts

64 responses to What To Do With Ron Artest

  1. I think the adjustment that should be made with Ron is an offensive one. In the first half, Ron posted up and cut to the basket with terrific success. None of the Jazz wings are strong enough to keep in out of the paint.

    In the second half, Ron went back to “three baller” mode and the offense wasn’t as fluid.

    Obviously, not a coincidence.

    In all seriousness, if Ron makes a promise to himself to not shoot any threes and just continue to cut to the basket and/or post up, he would score 12 points a game and really help the offense hum.

    The offball cuts with Pau, in particular, were next to impossible for Utah to stop.

    Remember last year when Artest took Ariza into the post and he couldn’t be stopped for the first two games? From Game 3 on, he went into jump shooter/three point shooter mode and let the Lakers off the hook.

    He can’t let the Jazz off the hook in this series.

    Van Gundy made the comment in the fourth quarter: the Jazz are purposely leaving Ron wide open to shoot from outside – BEGGING him to shoot. All he has to do is drive into the paint and he has the advantage.

    Heck, he’s almost the same size as Boozer, the Jazz’s starting power forward…

  2. Funky Chicken May 3, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    My vote is to keep Ron on Matthews or Miles. The Jazz have only two guys who are consistent threats, in the form of DWill and Boozer.

    Boozer is largely held in check by the length of Gasol and Odom, so there’s no point in moving Ron down to guard him. Williams is a phenomenal guard, whose speed and strength make him an unstoppable guard.

    To me, the key is keeping Williams’ assist numbers down, and the best way to do that is to keep Ron on one of the Jazz wing players. Williams can and will score a ton of points in this series; but that is not going to lift the Jazz to victory. However, if Williams gets BOTH points and assists, and gets those shooters involved, I can see the Jazz taking a game or two (especially at home).

    So, let Williams do his thing against Fisher & Brown, and let Kobe and Ron shut down the wings and Bynum/Gasol/Odom shut down the low post. Williams is great, but he can’t score enough by himself to make the Jazz competitive. Therefore, the defensive assignments from game 1 ought to be carried forward to game 2 and beyond.

  3. Re: Artest and Defense
    I think the Lakers are best served putting Artest on Williams. When beaten off the dribble a few times by Williams Ron still was right by his side and due to his size and quick hands forced Deron to travel through the lane and across to the other side more probing than attacking because Williams was afraid to get stripped or blocked by RnRon. In addition the big body of Artest can wear down Daron through the course of a game and a series.

    Re: Artest and Offense
    He is a scorer… and the Lakers should make sure Artest is utilized appropriately as a playmaker for them when Gasol and Kobe are on the bench. I love Phil Jackson but I can’t understand why he has Lamar alone on the perimeter as the 2nd units #1 option when that is a role Odom doesn’t relish or excel at. RonRon would be much better filling that void and help LA get by with Kobe and Gasol on the bench. An aggressive Artest is a nice weapon on offense especially against a Jazz team who has nobody that can guard him on the perimeter or in the post.

  4. ha… great minds think alike Burgandy

    However, regarding your call for Artest to pass up open three point shots… Ron has to shoot those wide open 3′s. Forcing the ball into the paint on a dribble drive when standing alone at the three point line with the paint stacked with Jazz and Lakers will just lead to 3 second violations and tough finishes at the basket. The only solution there is for Artest to find the stroke he had in the first half of the season where he was shooting 38% from behind the arc.

  5. I don’t think Artest can do a better job on Dwill than Fisher, but Fisher would do a worse job on Miles and Mathews because of height advantages that they can utilize to score. I’d say keep Fish on Deron and invoke Artest’s lockdown on Miles. It’s hard for the Jazz to win without a third scorer, esp when Booz and Millsap have a hard time against our length.

  6. I think the way to do it is to have Ron shut somebody, anybody down. The way the Jazz rely on ball movement to run their offense means that eliminating or severely reducing the ability of one player to pass would really slow down their offense. This combined with the Lakers’ size advantage is, I think, the best way to defend.

  7. Although speed is a factor, I don’t think that is what make’s Artest less effective against DWill then on his other assignments. Artest uses his strength, smarts and energy to hustle everyone into the corner Artest wants them in, and that includes Williams. But, even as Artest funnels D-Will into those spots, and anticipates the “right decision”, Williams is smart and skilled enough to make a play out of the nothing he is given. I like the idea of Artest winning a war of attrition against Williams. Make the other team hit the near impossible shot to win games. They might pull it off once or twice over the course of this series but I don’t think there is a team in the Western bracket that can do it more then that many times. With the D being played, the adjustments made over the course of series, and the effort I’ve seen since the playoffs started, I think only LeBron is capable of making enough plays to overcome the Lakers’ system… and that is no sure bet.

  8. I’m with the camp that says have Ron shut down the best perimeter shooter out on the floor. Whether that be Miles, Mathews or Korver. Those guys are role players, let them get a consistent taste of Ron’s defense and it could shake them enough that it might affect them even when they have an open shot.

    I agree that without that third scorer, it’ll be tough for Utah to score enough. Slow down the Boozer/Milsap combo and Utah will be left with just Deron.

    He’ll get his regardless, but Deron scoring and not getting the assists won’t be enough.

  9. I agree with Don. Artest didn’t do a bad job on Williams at all, but there wasn’t a huge difference between his D and Derek’s (wow, it feels weird saying that). CJ Miles occasionally springs free for big games; I’d rather watch Artest make sure he doesn’t get off. Both Artest and Fish can guard Williams, but only Artest can really lock down Miles.

    1 – Agreed on Artest in the post, but as for that last comment, I’d rather not see Artest drive against most teams. He’s good off a cut, when he reaches the hoop in 1 or 2 dribbles. But when the defense is already collapsed, Artest dribbling into a thicket of defenders is almost as bad as Fish doing the same thing. He gets headed off and starts dribbling aimlessly, pounding the ball, and then always forces up a bad shot.

    Artest just needs to be more decisive. His hesitation when he catches the ball just kills me; it grinds the timing of our offense to a halt.

  10. Walton is no great shakes, but, as weird as it is, maybe he is more helpful offensively than Artest. So why not have Walton & Artest “switch” roles, as far as the starters and the benchers? There’s no intense defensive match up for Walton to flail at, so he could facilitate the Gasol/Kobe unit (and shoot the 3 at least better than Artest). And Artest could be more of a low post threat among the smaller Laker bench crew.

    Just a thought.

  11. Let him guard Ammo. ; )

    Brought over from two posts ago because I think its relevant:

    Here’s just an interesting thought to throw out. What about swapping Ron for Luke when we play a team that doesn’t have a star for Ron to guard. He would be able to play his ad-hoc style with the second unit, definitely get his shots where he wanted them, because hey, we all know the second unit doesn’t run the offense. Luke would force our 1st unit even more so to run the system. And…isn’t Luke 2/3 from downtown this playoffs?

    I say this all in jest, I love Ron, he’s probably the reason we won the OKC series. I gave him a full pass on offense last series because I assumed he exerted 100% energy on defense, and I was perfectly fine with that. This series is still very young, but it looks like the playoff trend for him is continuing. But I’m still waiting for him to break out and shoot 47% the rest of the way from behind the arc.

    I know it’s always someone we have to be after on this blog, if its not TBH, its Fish, Jordan, Shannon…just giving Ron Ron his time in the sun.

    But…wouldn’t Luke be a good fit back with the starters?

  12. Hornets are being sold to a current minority owner. He’s a Louisiana native, so don’t expect Clay Bennett 2.0. It’ll be interesting to see how deep his pockets are, and if he’s tight-fisted or a free-spender. There’s players on that roster a lot of other teams would love, even if it would mean swallowing awful contracts.

  13. Aaron and Snoopy2006, you guys have kind of convinced regarding Artest driving when he has a wide open look from the three point line.

    I don’t think his stroke is going to magically come back, though.

    I think maybe it would be best if he didn’t set up out there for those kind of shots.

    If the ball is in the post, why not cut to the basket (like he did with Gasol) rather than drift to an open spot behind the arc?

    Artest is actually really good if he gets the ball on the move – I’ve seen him finish and make smart passes if he gets a pass in the paint.

    He seems to have more trouble if he’s driving the ball starting from outside the arc because he looks down when he dribbles.

    When he dive cuts, his head is up and he can better survey his options (same goes for setting up in the post).

  14. Neither Ron, nor Andrew should be dribbling in our offense – they both lose the ball when it is down low. I agree with Burgundy, in that Ron should be a cut and slash attacker more like Luke – only occasionally setting up and taking an outside shot.

  15. I like the idea of Artest completely shutting down Utah’s best perimeter shooter on the floor, whether it’s Miles, Korver, or Matthews at any one particular time. Even Kirilenko. Let Fish and Shannon guard D-Will to best of their abilities, and let our bigs shut down Boozer and Millsap. If D-Will is completely torching Fish and Shannon, only then should we sic Ron on him.

    Mike Trudell reported that Drew is no worse for wear today, so that’s a good sign for the rest of this series.

    Speaking of the man starting against Drew, I was very disappointed that none of today’s sports talk shows discussed Fesenko being distracted by the balloons before the DEN-UTAH Game 6. I can’t get enough of this guy. I’d love to see a scenario of Fesenko catching a full-court pass, getting ready to lay it in, and then dribbling the ball off his foot because he got distracted by a spectator behind the basket rolling out a ball of yarn, or someone holding out a stick with one of those stuffed mice on the end of a string.

  16. http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/lakers/post/_/id/6421/ron-artest-is-feeling-exploited-lakers-video

    Apparently, D-Will (who just might be my favorite non-Laker) was quoted as saying that he could exploit his speed advantage over RonRon if/when Artest is matched up against him.

    This was then relayed to RonRon (in the manner of all good journalism: “Did you hear what he said about you? What do you have to say back?”)

    As you can see in the video/read in the K Bros’ blog entry, it now appears to be on (like they said, on like Donkey Kong). I would look for Artest to either start on D-Will, or switch with Fish as soon as the game starts, no matter what the coaches say. :) And I say good – this is the playoffs. I want some trash talk and for things to get a little chippy.

  17. Haha thanks Brian, with that news there is no need for this post anymore. D Will is going to try to EXPLOIT RonRon and Artest will try to exploit dwill

  18. I know this is weird but I think Phil should just put Ron in the second unit with Odom instead of Bynum and let him guard MIllsap. Ron would be strong enough for Millsap but at the same time quick enough to contest his jumper and well guard move?

  19. #15, The Dude, apparently Fesenko was distracted by the kiss cam and Laker Girl routines according to Kevin Ding’s tweets. This even during timeouts.

    I think the Lakers Girls should incorporate a little bit of distraction ala The Replacements movie. Think of how ineffective Fesenko would be if the Laker Girls work at catching his attention with some lascivious moves. Heck maybe some of the more comely female Laker fans sitting courtside could also get into the action. Let’s work the hometown advantage here.

    And Yes, I’m ashamed to admit I’ve actually watched that movie. Gene Hackman and Keanu in a sports movie that couldn’t quite figure out whether to play it straight or as a comedy.

  20. I don’t think Ron Artests’ ego would accept a role off the bench under any circumstance.

    Fisher is doing an acceptable job on DWil provided he stays out of foul trouble.

    So, Artest should be utilized in the role of preventing Utah’s 3pt shooters from catching fire. Let’s see them get their 3pt shots after wrestling with Ron to get to their sweet spots on the floor.

    Matthews, Korver and Miles legs would be shot and they’d have no shot! If the Lakers put Artest of these guys in game 2 they’d cringe thinking about wrestling with Ron for games 3 and 4.

    These guys are just looking for an excuse to stop fighting; they may be perfectly content with what they’ve accomplished thus far, so why not give it to them!

    Lakers in 4!

  21. While it sounds good in theory Darius, I don’t see Ron committing to consistent overpowering defense on the likes of CJ Miles. Mentally I think he would check out and start roaming eventually.

    Durant, Melo, Lebron, and Roy have the ball in their hands looking to create offense at all times. This helps a great on ball defender like Ron stay focused.

    I’m not sure what to do with Ron except like themonkey said at 18 and play him more at the 4 and let him guard Milsap. It wouldn’t solve the issue with the starting unit, but they seemed just fine yesterday.

  22. 19. Yes, I linked to Kevin’s tweets here yesterday. Fesenko has been a non-factor so far, so we should probably only roll out those distractions when an important situation arises :D

  23. Funky Chicken May 3, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Although the original question had to do with who Ron should defend, I do think that some have made an interesting point about Ron on offense. I simply cannot see Luke Walton as a starter for any serious length of time, but if ever there was a series (or even just a game) to try it we might be at that point.

    Ron’s greatest asset, as everyone knows, is his defense. However, Utah is one of the few teams in the playoffs for whom there isn’t a natural fit (or need) for Ron to play his shut down defense. While this fact alone hardly argues in favor of Luke becoming a starter (words that I have hard time typing), if moving Ron to the second unit even for a short while allows him to assume a more forceful role on offense, it might be worth a try.

    After a season of horrible bench play, and virtually no scoring threats off the bench, the idea of Ron playing more of a post up role with that unit is very intriguing. Moreover, after the defensive collapse by the second unit in game 1, an argument can be made that Ron’s value in that game might have been greater had he been playing with the bench.

    So, maybe Phil should give it a shot. Perhaps not a demotion from the starting lineup, but maybe adjust Ron’s minutes so he gets more time with the second unit. There, he will be more needed on offense and might be able to gain more of fluidity in his offensive game before the Lakers move on to an opponent that will require more out of Ron on both ends of the floor….

  24. This series is taking some interesting twists. Between Phil Jackson’s in-game comments and now Williams/Artest, we already have strippers, a cheerleader fetish, and plenty of exploitation.

    Is Bynum’s injury like Kobe’s in that it will heal over the course of the new few weeks (slowly), or will the pain only get worse? Not everyone has Kobe’s pain threshold. Bynum was lagging up the court, couldn’t finish on some plays he normally does, etc. If he gets even less effective as the playoffs go on…

    Then again, it’s not like there’s much of a choice. He’s such a slow healer and usually (except for the Achilles) takes time to get into game shape, so maybe this is the best we can hope for. This really, tremendously sucks though. I thought we’d finally have Drew at full strength when we needed him most.

  25. It’s amazing how even old Shaq makes Perkins look like a little kid. I wasn’t watching the screen and when I looked up and saw Shaq backing down a green jersey all the way to the hoop, I thought it was Tony Allen guarding him for a second.

    Perkins absolutely beasted our frontline and easily guards Dwight Howard, and even ancient Shaq can still (in a few small stretches) can make him look so weak. Just makes you marvel at the kind of specimen Shaq was, every bit as rare as Lebron.

  26. this might be out of place but ahve anyone look at Kobe new magazine picture?

    WARNING THIS MIGHT LEAD TO TRAUMA SO BE WARN!!!!

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Kobe-Wardrobe-that-s-all-white-This-just-does?urn=nba,238277

  27. Off topic:

    Is there a reason why they reversed the baskets at Staples Center?

    Last series the Lakers shot at the right basket (on TV) in the 2nd half, and in the game yesterday we shot at the left basket in the 2nd half.

  28. Shaq was a beast. A huge, agile, FAST body with inredible width, height and length.

    He is one of the greatest big men to ever play, and at his peak was so ridiculously dominant that no one, NO ONE, could guard him.

    Imagine if he had hit his free throws… He would be in the GOAT conversation, for sure.

  29. will LeMvp please stand up in the 4th quarter

  30. I see the Taliban has a nice lead on the Al-Qaeda tonight, on the Al-Qaeda’s court. no less.

    I disagree with the decision to keep playing Bynum. My guess is he will gut it out a few games then get shelved again.

  31. Boston, self destructing….

  32. Themonkey- I’m going to gouge my eyes out now

  33. oh i thought the celtics won?

    i thought i saw them pulling ahead sometime ago…and i said to myself, the cavs are human! just yesterday celtics fans (clearly should hear kurt-darius type restraints) were already talking cavs in 5. i expect that to change dramatically. hope the suns also blister the spurs in some games to keep it tight and wear the spurs.

    i agree with keeping ron honest and on the wing players. i believe dfish will hold his own and as we know, dwill is the best pg in the league still playing. he will get his. it is key that kobe-pau get theirs. a 30-25 combo from both flanked by bynum and lamar’s numbers is about right to take down the jazz on a nightly basis. that said, our bench i hope will not get stunned the same way as game 1. things can only look up for the lakers.

    GO LAKERS!

  34. Early in the first and Nash is explaining to the Spurs’ Hill exactly what “veteran” means.

    Yikes!

  35. 26: the visiting coach always gets to choose which sides the teams will attack to start the game (regular season and playoffs alike). Sloan has always gone against the tide of pretty much every other coach in the league and wanted to coach his *offense* rather than his defense in the second half, hence the reversal.

  36. Boston, self destructing…

    Not quite. G3 of that series will be interesting.

  37. 27 – I’m still not sure he isn’t the GOAT.

    If I had a time machine, I’d send him back to play Wilt, Russell, Abdul-Jabbar …

  38. Guess lebron’s arm is hurting… good thing he put out that excuse early on.

    Odd that i’m cheering on the celts in that one.

  39. If Ron is a liability on offense does that not hurt us more then what he might do on Mathews or Miles?

    13% on 3′s is sick for the first 7 games. You would think he would make up for that in the boards. Zero thats 000 rebounds in game one.

    He is costing us way more on offense then he offers on defense. After all the hype Durant was only 3 point behind has season avarage.

    Here is a thought. Don’t ever shoot another 3 Mr. 13%.

  40. dblarm_prolene May 3, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    #11) I liked Taylor’s idea regarding getting Artest more time with the second unit and Walton more time with the starters, given that Utah doesn’t have a premiere 2 or 3 to shut down. These are the kind of interesting comments that keeps me lurking on FB&G.

    I don’t think RonRon’s psychology would handle coming off the bench very well, though.

    As for the original thread regarding who Artest should defend, I have a couple of thoughts…

    1) We haven’t seen Utah post up Deron Williams much yet, and as long as Artest is on him, I don’t think we ever will. I believe Artest is the best 1/2/3 defender on D-Will in the post, with Kobe being next. Granted, I really doubt that Sloan will ever completely abandon the pick and roll sets, but as the series unfolds, I bet that we will see more of Deron in the post if Phil matches Fish/Farmar/Brown on him. Deron has the strength and body to dominate our perimeter defenders in the post. Leaving Artest definitely deters this option.

    2) This one is purely hypothetical (meaning Phil would never do it) — what about sitting Bynum to rest the knee, and letting Artest take some extended time on Boozer? I felt like Lamar did a decent job when he was on Booze, but I think RonRon would absolutely relish the challenge!

  41. Aaron put down the beer. He is a scorer? He was a scorer. He is the worst shooter the Lakers have in 3′s and almost as bad on fast breaks and under the hoop. Aaron he is shooting 30% after 7 games and 13% in 3′s.

    He is a scorer?

    Your better then that Aaron.

  42. The Laker should wear all white at the next game. I know those pictures of Kobe wearing all white freaked me out. Perhaps they will have the same effect on the Jazz.

  43. I’m not sure if my memory serves me, but I think Hakeem did a decent job on O’Neal, although granted O’Neal wasn’t as experienced as he is now.

    Still, if I was given a choice to build a team from all the players in the past or present, I’d probably choose O’Neal before anyone else, even Jordan (not our Jordan).

    Going on a tangent, if you were to pick a team of otherworldly specimens, what would your team look like?

    O’Neal at center (DH isn’t quite there yet), TD at four, LeBron at three, Durant at two, and Magic at one… long team ;)

    Anyway, I’m happy about the results of the Cleveland-Celtics game, not because the Cavs lost, but because LeBron did not fail to point out his elbow after all his politically correct talks of it not mattering. Just shows character.

    I really shouldn’t be feeling this way about him; I’m starting to realize why there are so many Kobe haters out there looking at myself nitpick LeBron.

  44. If my memory serves correct, didn’t we play Utah in the ’08 & ’09 ‘offs?

    If my memory serves correct, wasn’t Fish our starting PG in the ’08 & ’09 ‘offs?

    If my memory serves correct, wasn’t D. Williams starting @ PG for the Jazz in the ’08 & ’09 ‘offs?

    If my memory serves correct, didn’t we eliminate Utah from the ‘offs in ’08 & ’09.

    If my memory serves correct, wasn’t Fish the Primary defender against D. Williams when we eliminated them in ’08 & ’09?

    In other words, “If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.” D. Williams had a better (definitely healthier) team in the previous 2 years that we met in the ‘offs & they couldn’t handle us then. So what should make one believe that he’ll be able to do anything to defeat us now.

    Keep Ron-Ron on C.J. Miles. In this series, allow him to guard his position. He exerted plenty of energy last series in shutting down The Durantula & we’ll probably need his defensive tenacity in our next series against Manu, if the Spurs happen to advance.

  45. That C’s Cavs series just got really interesting, considering how mentally weak the Cavs have shown themselves to be when faced with adversity in the past.

  46. OT, but does anyone here know the record of PJ-coached teams in head to head playoff series against Sloan-coached teams? Looking for how many *series* each coach has won over the other, not the # of individual games. Thanks.

  47. Lmao the Suns fans are chanting “Na-na-na hey-hey-hey good-bye” after Game 1! Yes, this is how much the Spurs have tortured the fan base.

  48. lil pau – This is just a guess until someone with more patience than me does the research, but off the top of my head I’d say 4-0.

    My reasoning: During his Bulls days PJ and Sloan could have only met in the Finals, and that was 2-0. Our Lakers losses to the Jazz came before Phil’s era here. And I remember facing the Jazz only twice since Phil took over, so I’d guess 4-0 in Phil’s favor. Anyone know if that’s right?

  49. 46. jackson leads sloan 4-0 in playoff series. 97, 98 in the finals, and 08 09.

  50. 48, 49 – 4-0? That’s a lot less than what it felt like. It certainly FEELS like they’ve been inside each other’s head and heart, probably because of the marquee matchups during the Bulls run and maybe because both have been around for quite a while.

    And the Suns win!

    There is some serious perverse joy to be had in this year’s playoffs – we have four evils facing each other: Cleveland and Boston, San An and Phoenix!

    Not to mention that PHX dispatched Portland for us, and San An dealt with Dallas, and our new best friend Jazz eliminated the Nuggets.

    If things keep up, we may have Atlanta emerge out of the east ;)

  51. 50. yep, it is 4-0. snoopy is correct. interestingly enough, phil is 5-0 against adelman coached teams, 4-1 against poppovich and 3-0 against karl.

    the man has only lost to 7 different coaches – chuck daly, riley, brian hill, poppovich, larry brown, d’antoni (twice) and rivers.

  52. Ken,
    Ill put down the Beer if you put down that funny cigarette :) Artest didn’t just hold Durant 3 points below his average… he made a 48% dominant scorer turn into a 35% Allen Iverson brick taker. And as far as Artest being a scorer/playmaker… he hasn’t been a scorer this year because he is asked to play a different role. He is very much capable of being a playmaker for the 2nd unit which is a role that only Kobe thrives in on this team. Even Gasol has shown to lack the aggressiveness needed to carry the bench on offense. And if I think Artest’s 3 point shooting in the playoffs is too small of a sample size. Artest shot 38% from three the first half of the season, unfortunately with his weight loss went his outside shot mysteriously. And his % dropped to 35% still better than one Kobe Bryant.

  53. Re: The Kobe Photo Shoot
    I for one think Kobe’s new pics are pretty cool and different. The guy doesn’t just take chances on the basketball court. I think if this was Lebron people would all love it… but because Kobe sometimes comes across not comfortable in his own skin, these shots appear uncharacteristic of the Mamba and have caught people “off-guard.” If this were David Beckham it would just be another Monday and people would be asking why he is wearing so many clothes. But I guess Kobe doesn’t look like Beckham either.

  54. MonkeyTheLeo May 4, 2010 at 1:43 am

    I’m gonna go out on a limb here and think outside of the box…

    I think PJ is thinking the bigger picture here and letting Ron Artest not be so aggressive on defense (to give him a little rest) and get more balance from him through the offense. Not trying to count our chickens before the eggs hatch, but next round (assuming we win this round) he’ll have to guard either Ginobli, or JRich, then if we make it to the finals, either Lebron, Pierce, or Carter.

    That’s some major defensive assignments, so I think PJ is trying to give him the opportunity to focus a little bit more on offense this round. I know it’s a little far-fetched, but thinking outside the box, just like Kobe wearing all white…

  55. Aaron you’re being sarcastic right?

    The best prop to that photos would probably be that Kobe looks like a Dune’s psycho.

  56. 37- Not the GOAT.

    He could have had many more years like that and many more reg. season MVPs like the one in 2000, but he DIDN’T.

    Although Shaq could muscle KAJ like crazy, Kareem would have to counter with sky hooks. Sky hooks especially from 15-18 feet because Shaq is not good defending away from the paint.

  57. 53. I actually agree with you Aaron. These photos were not meant to look normal, it was supposed to be Artistic. But just like any other thing Kobe does, it gets ripped apart. But i guess the Photographer/stylist is happy, his work is being talked about.

  58. I really don’t see Artest being a “playmaker” at this point in his career. He gets opportunities to drive after kickouts when the defense is recovering and he gets post ups, but he rarely is able to exploit these situations to get easy buckets, and often allows the defense to recover and set. I don’t think he has the athleticism on the drive or length (and athleticism) in the post to be a consistent threat. Once the defense figures out that he can be covered one on one, they will let off, not overcompensate, and those dish passes off to Pau or LO won’t be there anymore. Yes he’s great off cuts and uses his left hand plenty well, but he needs to be set up off ball action. He is not a great option to be a primary initiator or playmaker imo.

    In fact, I’d like to see LO or Luke in the post more with the second unit. It seems LO has relegated himself to the perimeter and when his sole driving lane gets cut off he’s content with staying outside and passing the ball off uselessly against a set defense. If he doesn’t get a step, he doesn’t know how to change directions, so I say put him in the post so at least he’s a threat and we don’t have to watch the ugly attempts at shot-creation from SB or Farmar.

  59. Seid from Ethiopia. May 4, 2010 at 8:15 am

    I really don’t like the thoughts on Ron Artest. he is shooting 13% from downtown. So what?
    It seems like every one of you forgot how we’ve been torched by the likes of Paul Peirce, Carmelo Anthony and co. what these guys have in common is , they’re big, strong and skilled . also they can light up the score board. before Ron gets here we have nobody that can matchup with these guys. not even kobe or Ariza. In 08 Finals, we lost the series because we didnt have any body that can slow peirce, let alone stop him.( We lost the 08 finals b/c no rebounding ,no wing defender,soft front line, blah blah) not only he was scoring but he was extremely efficeint. In 09, we almost didnt make it to the finals because of carmelo. kobe was our best wing defender and our best offensive guy. that sounds like trouble. Ariza couldn’t slow down melo. and as the same time billups is exploding . I remember when Phil let Kobe guard both of these guys in the same game. I mean, come on. He is guarding melo one minute and next thing you know he is battling melo for an offensive rebound. and he is exploding for 40 at the same game. If melo had the mental strength, he could’ve take denver to the finals.
    Coming to this season , you know
    1. for the past million years, we’ve been torched almost by every point guard out there. I mean every PG on this league have their career highs against the lakers.
    2. we still didnt have that wing defender, who shutsdown guys. and the wing threats been growing. Durant, Roy and melo resides on the westcoast.
    And James and Peirce are waiting the finals.
    knowing that, you cann’t put kobe both on opposing PG and Wing scorers and expect him to dominate offensively on a playoff series. I know Kobe Is not human. But still.
    so what was our best option. Simple GO GET ARTEST. and we did.
    OK, If we didn’t have artest for round 1, I’m Not sure if we could’ve advanced. Durant going for 40 against ariza and westbrook breaking loose. kobe shooting not so well and phil puting him on durant one quarter and on westbrook the next. and closing out on the fourth. Just imagine that.
    Having Artest frees up kobe and let him think on the offensive end. and we can put kobe on the PG when things get out of control.
    I totally dont agree with the guys saying Durant was only 3 points down from his season averege. Ask yourself, what was durant’s impact on the series? what was his effeceincy? both will be not so much. and we did have the luxury to put kobe on westbrook.
    Having Artest on my team helps me sleep at night as opposing to thinking what we are going to do in a playoff series when we face Durant, Melo, Roy, Peirce, James and so on.
    I’ll take 13% on threes for all of that.
    STEP OFF ARTEST EVERY BODY. HE IS BEEN OUR 3RD MOST IMPORTANT PLAYER SO FAR IN THE PLAYOFFS BEHINED YOU KNOW WHO.

  60. Re the Kobe photos. I don’t know much about art but I think they may have been exploiting the public perception of Kobe, esp in contrast to the likes of Lebron and Beckham, to evoke discomfort. I enjoy art that is beautiful and awe-inspiring, but it can also be particularly riveting when a piece of work can get you to cringe and make you think twice.

  61. Ken,

    A few weeks ago didn’t you say Fisher should never shoot another three ever again? And if he stopped, he would never do the things he’s doing now right?

    If he’s open. Shoot it. That goes for everyone on the team. Even Ammo

  62. #59. I don’t really see too many who are disparaging Artest. Everyone agrees he’s been phenomenal on defense while also acknowledging that his offense has not been his strong suit so far. His value to this team is clear.

    And let me just repeat what I’ve been saying for a little while now – I expect Artest to get *better* on offense over the next 12 months, not slip into a (further) decline. It took Scottie Pippen almost 2 seasons to get comfortable in this offense. Everyone likes to talk about Ariza, but he had a half a season of being injured where he could just take mental reps and watch film + a whole off season and a training camp to find his role in the Lakers offense and he was being asked to do a lot less than Artest (as Ron is the more skilled player). Give the guy some time, he’ll get to point where he understands this thing a bit better. And when he does, I think he’ll be in that 13-16 point range nightly with a more diverse attack while still giving the team his trademarked tenacious defense.

  63. No matter what the line up looks like I’m just happy to see Luke Walton playing again. If we can get some decent minutes from him it will really help since Farmar and Shannon haven’t been very consistent all year.

    On another note: How ‘Bout Them Cavs?! When I saw them getting dominated I was just positive that Sports Center would be all over it but there really wasn’t much of a reaction. Every time the Lakers lose a game it’s like the whole world loves to ask if they are crumbling as a franchise. Well the Cavs got spanked at home to a veteren team on the night Lebrat got his MVP trophy. Isn’t there something to be said about that?

  64. 37.

    Shaq could’ve been the GOAT, but he lacked the necessary work ethic and focus.

    Give me Kareem any day, who not only stayed in shape, but could actually play outside of the paint, make his free throws, was a superior passer (averaged over 5 apg 3 times and over 4 apg 9 times), and was a dominant defensive rebounder and shot blocker (made all-defense 11 times).