Ron Artest talks quite a game after his 20-point Game 7 performance

He took the ball and ran with it on the court, and stole it when he had to do so. Five times, in fact.

For an encore, Lakers forward Ron Artest took the first question in his postgame news conference and ran with the words in the aftermath of the Lakers’ 83-79 win against the Celtics. And kept running and kept running.

“So I’m blessed, and I totally forgot the question you asked,” Artest said after his lengthy response.

Vintage Ron Ron.

In between, he blamed himself for losing Game 2 of the NBA Finals. He thanked God several times, and flipped through his long memory bank and ripped himself for being “so young, so egotistical,” saying he bailed out on his Pacers teammates.

“I feel sometimes like a coward when I see those guys, because it’s like, man, I’m on the Lakers and I had a chance to win with you guys [at Indiana], and I feel almost like a coward,” Artest said. “I never thought God would put me in this situation again because of that.”

To repeat, the Lakers needed a complete performance at both ends of the floor in Game 7 from the player fondly called Ron Ron.

Artest had 20 points, hitting two three-pointers, and added five rebounds.

“Ron Artest was the most valuable player tonight,” Coach Phil Jackson said Thursday. “He brought life to our team, he brought life to the crowd.”

And life to the interview room.

“The history of me in the playoffs, which I need to get better at, is playing more consistently throughout the playoffs. The history of me in the playoffs is I have two good games, and then I have a bad game and maybe I might win a Game 6 or lose, like last year in Game 7.”

The Game 7 loss to which he referred was to the Lakers when he was with the Rockets last season, and that heated series included altercations with Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant. Artest then signed a five-year deal with the Lakers in July.

So Bryant put him out of the playoffs last season, and Artest helped keep Bryant and the Lakers afloat when they were tight and struggling on Thursday night in Game 7 at Staples Center.

“He wanted to win as a team, though, not going off on his own,” Artest said of Bryant. “He never passes me the ball, and he passed me the ball. Kobe passed me the ball, and I shot a three.

“He’s a Zen master, so he can speak to you, and he doesn’t need a microphone; you can hear him in your head, ‘Ron, don’t shoot, don’t shoot.’ Whatever, pow, three. I love the Zen, though.”

Ron Ron meets Zen. Just can’t wait to see what he has in store next season.

Lakers win! Buy championship merchandise here

Clicking on Green Links will take you to a third-party e-commerce site. These sites are not operated by the Los Angeles Times. The Times Editorial staff is not involved in any way with Green Links or with these third-party sites.