Lakers’ Ron Artest shows his harder side
Ron Artest was aggressive against the Utah Jazz, working hard for post position, using his strength to try to overpower the smaller Jazz defenders.
Artest was in attack mode most of the game, driving hard to the basket, putting up left-handed layups, looking for ways to score.
He finished with 16 points on six-for-10 shooting in the Lakers’ loss that broke their 11-game winning streak.
Artest just got up those 10 shots, but it was the way he worked for his shots that showed a different side.
“I’ve played the post before,” Artest said. “I don’t want to go in there too much like I was before because we have three more post [players]. But I was in there and I got on a little roll.”
His best roll came in the third quarter when the Lakers needed someone to help the team stay close to a Jazz team that was rolling up a 12-point lead.
Artest had 10 points in the third quarter, trying to keep the Lakers close.
He was three for four from the field, four for seven from the free-throw line.
Artest’s first basket in the third was on a 20-foot jumper.
His next two baskets were on layups, one cutting to the basket, the other on a hard drive.
His other four points came from the free-throw line, and that was because Artest had attacked the basket so hard that he was fouled.
“He didn’t do bad,” Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. “He had an advantage in the post. Things didn’t go great for him from the line, but he did some good things out there.”
Artest knew that Kobe Bryant was sick and playing hurt.
Artest knew that Bryant was late to Saturday night’s game because of a stomachache and lacked energy.
Artest knew that Bryant also was playing with an avulsion fracture in his right index finger that had a splint on it.
“Kobe, he told me to get more aggressive and get in there,” Artest said. “And [Pau] Gasol too told me to get in there.”
Artest also tried to be a good teammate.
The Lakers were down by 17 points in the fourth when Jackson called a timeout.
Artest, who was on the bench resting, encouraged his teammates, clapping, putting his hand beneath his chin, motioning for them to keep their heads up.
It didn’t do any good, but Artest had tried.
He had entered the game 11 points shy of scoring 10,000 points in his 11-year career.
By scoring 16, Artest reached the milestone, now having 10,005 points.
That mattered little to Artest.
His team had lost a game.
His effort wasn’t enough to get the Lakers by the Jazz.
Artest said he’ll continue to look for ways to help the Lakers, maybe even going back to the post some more.
“It depends on how the team is moving,” Artest said. “Depends on the rhythm of the game. . . . I’ve got to get in there a little bit when I can. I can’t make a habit of it. I’m not going to be there for the whole game, because we have great post players on this team.”