Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ron Artest Sucks at Offense: Game 2 Evidence

More about Artest's offensive ineptitude below from Langston Whittaker's blog on SLAM:

By far the strangest sequence of Game 2 came with 1:12 to go in the game. Kendrick Perkins had knocked in two free throws to give Boston a 98-90 lead. L.A. inbounded to Artest, who dribbled the ball all the way up the right side of the court (dribbling left-handed, for some reason). With 1:07 to go, Artest paused just outside the three point line and surveyed the floor. Paul Pierce was guarding him, but not too closely, not wanting to foul and stop the clock. Artest signaled up top for Kobe to come to him and get the ball, but Kobe froze, not wanting to run his defender (Ray Allen) into Artest’s space. Andrew Bynum then came toward Artest to set a pick on Pierce, but Artest didn’t wait long enough for the pick, and instead just started dribbling toward the middle of the floor. Pierce bothered him enough to push Artest down to the left block. His dribble still alive, and I suppose suddenly realizing that the Lakers could use a three, Artest turned and dribbled up toward the left elbow. By now the clock was at 1:02, and the Lakers had run 10 seconds off the clock with nobody touching the ball but Artest. The crowd begins screaming, reminding Artest that time is of essence. Artest dribbled out to the three point line on the left wing and picked up his dribble, so Pierce ran up on him, cutting off any open jumper. Artest half-heartedly pump-faked, pivoted back, then forward, and ended up taking a contested three with his foot on the line and 57 seconds left in the game. The shot didn’t come close. The other Lakers players on this play mostly just stood around and watched Artest, as amazed as everyone else at what was unfolding. Hilariously, the shot was such a brick that it bounced over all the Celtic rebounders and to Pau Gasol, who tipped it to Kobe up top, and Kobe immediately drained a 25-footer to cut it to 98-93 with 53 seconds left. But what was Artest doing?

After the game, someone asked Phil Jackson about it, for maybe my favorite sequence of the Finals:

Q: Does Ron get a little lost out there offensively? Is it the stage? Is it the pressure? There was one play towards the end where he ran around for about ten seconds and threw up a three.

PHIL JACKSON: It’s one of the more unusual sequences I’ve ever witnessed. You know, he’s just trying to redeem himself. He’s trying to get himself involved in the game and trying to redeem himself for I think he made a bad pass earlier in the sequence.

Q. But this is a pretty big stage to be doing that at that particular moment.

PHIL JACKSON: Sure, very good observation.

Q. Have you had a conversation with him about whether he needs to go that route?

PHIL JACKSON: Yeah, sure, I’ll have a conversation with him.

Between Games 1 and 2 at one of the media days someone asked Ron Ron about his offense. He said, “Offense is kind of like the lottery for me. Whatever happens, happens.” He paused briefly, glanced around, then asked, “Does that make sense? Is that a good comparison?”

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