Artest says shot is fine


His stats tell one story.

He tells another.

The two are conflicting, confounding even when Ron Artest explains his woes on offense.

He’s shooting only 25% (four for 16) from the field, 22.2% (two for nine) from three-point range. He’s even missing from the free-throw line, making only 33.3% (three for nine) of his tries.

Those numbers say Artest’s shot has betrayed him. He says otherwise.


“I feel like I shot the ball well,” Artest, who is averaging 6.5 points after two games with the Lakers, said after practice Saturday. “I feel like I’m playing great. That’s how I feel.”

Artest’s problems started in the exhibition season, when he made only 39.6% of his shots, 25% of his three-point tries and 57.6% of his free throws.

Perhaps Artest just isn’t comfortable in the triangle offense yet.

“When we’re all in sync, it shows how comfortable I am in the offense,” Artest said. “As a team, when we’re not in sync, it shows like something is stuck in between a door. No matter how hard you try, it’s still something in between that door and you can’t move it. That just means you’ve got to play a little bit more smarter at times.”

Asked about Artest’s poor shooting, Coach Phil Jackson gave another answer that was more in line with what actually seems to be the truth, saying that “shooting wise, he has not been shooting the ball well enough for his own satisfaction nor ours.”

Jackson said Artest has to “figure out” on his own where he’s most effective in the offense, because the triangle is supposed to mean equal opportunity.

“We don’t do much play calling for individuals and so he has to learn how to fit in,” said Jackson, whose team plays the Atlanta Hawks tonight at Staples Center. “We hope that that comes in time. That’s something that we anticipate will happen. We’re not surprised that there are some little things like that in various points in the game.”

Gasol update

Jackson said “there’s not a chance” that Pau Gasol, out for the first two regular-season games because of a strained right hamstring, will play tonight.