Tag:Ron Artest
Posted on: February 10, 2012 8:33 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2012 9:17 pm
  •  
 

Metta to Lin: Get some swag

NEW YORK -- Leave it to Metta World Peace, the Artest formerly known as Ron, to weigh in on the Jeremy Lin phenomenon in ways that make you laugh, scratch your head and wonder if the world is about to end.

World Peace and Linsanity colliding at Madison Square Garden may simply be too much for the atmosphere to handle.

I never do this, because rarely are all the quotes worth your time. But A) I want to watch the game, and B) all the quotes are amazing, bizarre and will make for enjoyable reading during timeouts. But only during timeouts, as the Knicks' Linsation has nine of their first 13 points as New York leads the Lakers 13-4 as I type this in the first quarter.

Here ya go. Pay special attention to Artest's -- I mean, World Peace's -- fashion advice toward the end, when he suggests a new haircut and shades and says, "You're Jeremy Lin, for godsakes."

Q: Your impressions of Lin.

A: I was like, 'Wow, he had 25 in one game and everybody was going crazy.' New York media, you know? And then it happened two more times and I was like, 'Oh, yeah, it’s good. It’s good.' … Looking from the outside in, everybody’s pretty happy for him. It’s good to see something special for the first time. It’s kind of like when Yao came in and when Toni Kukoc came and everybody was talking about how he was Michael Jordan overseas. It’s good to see something for the first time. And he’s doing it without his two star players.

Q: Who were the Knicks' point guards when you started watching them?

A: (Charlie) Ward, (Derek) Harper, those old rugged guys, real basketball. This is like play-play basketball now. I miss the Harpers. They put that forearm on you and you can’t go nowhere. That’s New York City. That’s hard-nose. I miss that. I miss that. You can’t do that with these soft, cotton candy players. They cry all the time. Babies. Cotton candy.

Q: How good can he be?

A: He still has to play some New York City street ball to break himself in. He has to like go to Hunter College and Rucker and Kingdome and then he would be a real New York City insanity, or whatever you said.

Q: What do you think about all the attention he's getting on Twitter?

A: I think it’s good because it’s a first. It’s the first time. It’s just not normal to see an Asian-American in the NBA, and he’s the first. (Actually, he's the fourth. But who's counting.) And it’s great because Asian-Americans play a whole lot of basketball throughout America. You see it all the time. How many Asian-Americans do you see playing basketball in the street who actually want to play in the NBA? I’m assuming there’s a lot of them. And he did what it takes to play, and he’s a role model. Good in school, he’s a role model all the way around.

Q: What did you know about him before?

A: I know he used to miss layups on the fast break in Golden State. I know he used to turn the ball over at half court. He was trying to find himself. He was the first Asian-American to play (again, the fourth), he must’ve had a lot of pressure on him. He was pretty good. He was athletic. You saw that, but it wasn’t converted to his game. But now he’s playing ball now. He’s showing why he’s a good player. If he had that Ron Artest in his prime defense on him, that would've been a problem. That would've been a major problem. I don’t even think Metta World Peace wants to see that.

Q: Did the Lakers talk about him in the locker room?

A: Do we talk about him? Yeah, we talk about him. We think he needs a better haircut. I don’t like that style. You’re in New York, the fashion capital. Change your haircut, OK? You’re a star now. Wear some shades. Shades, OK? Put down the nerdy Harvard book glasses. Put on some black shades, OK? With some leather pants. Change your style. Fashion.

Q: Do you wear leather pants?

A: No, I won’t wear them, but he should wear leather pants. He’s the type of guy who should wear leather pants, some nice shoes and change his fashion. You’re Jeremy Lin, for godsakes. You know what I’m saying? You know? Put down that law book, stop reading the New York Times and start reading the Daily News. Newsday, that’s the one. I like that one because there’s always color in that one. What else? Wall Street Journal. Get some swag. You’re in New York City. Put your hat to the back, too. Put your hat on backwards. Come to practice with your pants sagging and just tell them, 'I don’t feel like practicing.' Practice? You know? Practice? And wear an Iverson jersey. You know? Come to practice with a cigar. Lit. 'I’m Jeremy Lin.' You know? He should change. We're all excited to play tonight. It’s like the first time for everybody. Everybody’s excited. Kobe’s excited. He wants to get 50. He wants to welcome Jeremy Lin to his new level."

And this concludes this episode of, "I never thought I'd type that and post it online."

Enjoy the game.
Posted on: May 8, 2011 6:38 pm
Edited on: May 8, 2011 6:54 pm
 

Lakers' run ends in disgrace

What a disgrace. 

The career of the most decorated, accomplished coach in NBA history … the relentless pursuit of a sixth title by Kobe Bryant, the greatest champion in the sport since Michael Jordan … any shred of dignity the Lakers might’ve left Dallas with Sunday after an embarrassing sweep … all of it crumbled under the weight of a colossal humiliation and dishonor put forth by the two-time defending champions. 

Losing is one thing. Getting swept is another. Getting sent home in an utterly uncompetitive blowout is even worse. But nothing is more disgusting than champions acting like punks. Nothing is more embarrassing than a team that cannot lose with dignity. 

The revolting episode that was most likely Phil Jackson’s final game as a coach will have far-reaching implications. This 122-86 debacle, and the deplorable behavior that went along with it, is the kind of loss whose aftershocks last for months, if not years. 

We already knew this would be a very different Lakers team next season, even if they’d won a third straight title. We already knew there would be a new coach. And this is the NBA; there are usually some new players. 

But this sudden, thorough, and inexplicable descent into dysfunction and depravity will not go unpunished. 

Lamar Odom, and particularly Andrew Bynum, will never be able to repay Jackson for shaming him this way. Bynum, a positive force during much of the series, doesn’t deserve to wear a Lakers uniform again after his unconscionable cheap shot to a defenseless, airborne J.J. Barea in the fourth quarter of a 30-point humiliation. There’s no place for that regardless of the victim, but Bynum violated the No. 1 rule of the schoolyard (where he belongs) and the NBA: Pick on someone your own size. Only punks and losers take aim at those half their size. 

The fact that Bynum needed Ron Artest – involved in one of the most notorious behavioral incidents in NBA history – to escort him past the Mavericks’ bench and toward the locker room told you everything you needed to know. At least Artest’s gesture proved that that Lakers’ team bond hadn’t completely eroded. In a sick way, Artest sticking up for a teammate who’d done something so cowardly was the only evidence that there was anything at all left of these Lakers as currently constructed. 

Championship caliber teams sometimes win in the playoffs, and sometimes they lose. Sometimes they lose like the ’91 Pistons, who walked out before time expired in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Bulls. Sometimes, they lose like the Spurs, who have never sacrificed an ounce of their professionalism for some twisted, macho moment that lasts but a second but stains your reputation forever. 

The Lakers, at the end for Jackson and near the end for Bryant, have managed to put themselves in the company of disgraced champions – those who don’t engender or deserve the respect of the generations. Big changes for the Lakers are now not only likely and expected, but also necessary, even mandatory. Say good-bye to Hollywood, say good-bye to the babies who couldn’t lose like champions. Shame on them, and good luck to the professionals they will leave behind to try to resurrect the Lakers’ proud history. 

Whatever uniform he is wearing in October, or whenever the NBA resumes, Bynum will be watching from his hotel room at a Four Seasons somewhere because he’ll most certainly be suspended. His actions will be suspended in time, serving as a lesson for every one of his contemporaries who play this game. 

We can only hope the Celtics and Heat were watching this. One of them will lose that series, and whoever it is will have an obligation to lift basketball out of the gutter the Lakers abandoned it in on Sunday.
Posted on: February 8, 2011 2:18 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2011 4:11 pm
 

Sources: Melo-Bynum talks have some traction

The Lakers and Nuggets have achieved some traction with recent trade discussions involving Andrew Bynum and Carmelo Anthony, two people with knowledge of the talks told CBSSports.com Tuesday. 

Bynum-for-Anthony would be the obvious centerpiece in the proposed deal, but numerous other pieces that would have to be involved make it "very, very difficult to get this done," said one of the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss team business. 

The Lakers' early success in piquing the Nuggets' interest in Bynum represents a subtle shift in Denver's trade strategy. One of the people familiar with the talks said Nuggets officials have recently expressed a renewed desire to bring back a "star player" along with multiple draft picks in a trade for Anthony. A scenario involving the Knicks, Anthony's No. 1 choice in a trade, would not yield a star but would save the Nuggets significant money and provide cap relief to rebuild. 

UPDATE: ESPN The Magazine first reported the preliminary discussions between the Lakers and Nuggets Tuesday. Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak declined to comment on the level of the team's involvement with the Nuggets, and spokesman John Black said the team doesn't comment on "trade rumors."

A third person connected to the situation said he found it "suspicious" that the Bynum-Anthony scenario would become public so soon after it was publicly revealed that the Knicks have found a willing participant in the Timberwolves to contribute to a three-team scenario that would send Anthony to New York. That person said he received some signals early last week that the Lakers and Nuggets were at least considering entering into Bynum-Anthony discussions.

"Someone is trying to scare New York," the person said.
 
Although Anthony's representatives with Creative Artists Agency have recently stepped up their efforts to circulate Melo's long-held preference for a trade to New York, those close to the three-time All-Star believe there is no question he would sign a three-year, $65 million extension as part of a trade to the Lakers. Such a scenario would give Anthony everything he wants -- top-dollar in an extension, the big-market allure that comes with the Lakers' Hollywood surroundings, and the inside track to his first championship. 

But such a complicated trade is much bigger than Anthony's desires. Sources say the Nuggets would insist on the Lakers recruiting a third team that could provide attractive first-round picks. From the Lakers' perspective, they also would be looking for a backcourt upgrade in the deal -- and sources say Chauncey Billups could fit that bill as a short-term replacement for struggling Derek Fisher

Also, despite his denials, sources say Ron Artest has, in fact, privately discussed wanting to be traded -- and Lakers officials have been eager to take him up on it, with no realistic takers given the nearly $22 million he is owed over the next three seasons. Including Artest in the framework of a Bynum-Melo deal is highly unlikely, given that Denver would balk at taking on his contract and any third team willing to surrender valuable picks wouldn't want it, either. 

UPDATE: In addition, a league source told CBSSports.com Tuesday that he put little credence in reports that Artest could be headed to the Bobcats for either Gerald Wallace or Stephen Jackson. When Artest signed with the Lakers two summers ago, the notion of him going to Charlotte was posed to part-owner Michael Jordan and GM Rod Higgins, who indicated he wasn't the right "fit" for the organization. Also, sources say Artest has been advised of no serious talks that would lead to him being traded -- something the Lakers, who are aware of how Artest's play could be affected by trade rumors, would be sure to do if they were close to trading him.

For these reasons and plenty of others, a Lakers-Nuggets deal centered around Bynum and Anthony is "a long way from being made," one of the sources said. 

But if the discussions gained momentum, the Lakers would be giving up their most valuable advantage -- front-court size -- for a player whose scoring talents mirror those of Kobe Bryant. But of all the stars on the 2008 Olympic gold-medal team, Bryant and Anthony were the two who grew closest in Beijing. It's one thing to co-exist on the national team, and quite another on an NBA team with obvious championship ambitions. But at least Bryant and Anthony would have a solid relationship and mutual respect as their foundation. 

And look at it this way: Bryant is still playing at a high level, but he can't do this forever. The opportunity to cash in a valuable asset like Bynum for a player who could not only team up with Bryant and win a title now, but replace him in the future, is too good to pass up. 

But as has been the case in every Melo trade scenario, the wild card is Denver. Are Nuggets officials willing to send their superstar to a conference rival, only to watch him torture their souls for years? Is a potential star center with suspect knees the best they can do for Anthony? These are among the many questions this tantalizing scenario presents -- and as usual with Anthony, there are more questions than answers.
Posted on: December 27, 2010 7:11 pm
 

Lakers' scars more than skin deep

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – There was no direct evidence of the butt-kicking in practice that Kobe Bryant had promised. Head-butting, yes. But butt-kicking? 

“Not sure,” said Ron Artest, wearing the only tangible proof of what Phil Jackson called a “feisty” practice Monday in the form of a swollen cut under his right eye. 

Artest’s battle scar didn’t result from any contact with Bryant, who had promised after the Lakers’ listless loss to Miami on Christmas Day that distracted, unfocused, and unprepared teammates would be held accountable on the practice court. Artest’s wound, according to a source, resulted from a collision with Shannon Brown’s head during the 5-on-5 portion of practice, which was won by the second unit, an amused Jackson said. 

“Kind of fun and interesting,” Jackson said of the reserves’ victory. 

So the Lakers’ starters have now lost three games in a row – blowouts at home against Milwaukee and Miami, and now this. The impact of any tongue-lashings or motivational tactics from Bryant will be put to an immediate test Tuesday night in San Antonio, where the Spurs (26-4) are experiencing no such strife and enjoying the best record in the league – five games better than the two-time defending champion Lakers. 

“They’re doing something special this year and we have to understand what it is,” Jackson said. 

Bryant didn’t speak with reporters Monday; he was off the practice floor by the time media were allowed into the gym. But the simple fact that he practiced at all – he typically rests his 31-year-old body to save fuel for the championship run – should have sent a clear message. 

And apparently it did. The message was received, loud and clear, by Artest, who bristled at the notion that Bryant was pointing the finger at him during his postgame rant Saturday. The money quote from Bryant, “The game has to be the most important thing,” caused curious minds – including mine – to wonder if Artest’s championship ring raffle was deemed by Bryant to be an unnecessary distraction. 

After the game, Artest apologized to Lakers fans on Twitter, writing, “Every loss my fault.” On Monday, he shot down the notion that he was distracted Saturday and several times alluded to how “unfortunate” it was that Jackson kept him on the bench for most of the fourth quarter. 

“I didn’t get a chance to even let it be a distraction because I only played 20 minutes,” Artest said. 

With every teammate except Lamar Odom off the practice court, Artest said, “I’m the last one to leave the gym every day,” and urged one reporter to “pay attention to the surroundings.” 

"I work extremely hard on defense,” Artest said. “I’m the last one to leave every day. The game is extremely important.” 

Later, I asked Artest if his Twitter apology meant that he was responding to the notion of being singled out by Bryant. 

“If we keep losing, you’ve got to point to yourself first,” Artest said, aiming his thumb at the middle of his chest. “Always point the finger right there before you point the finger anywhere else. I point the finger at myself all the time. Even before I came here last year, I would point the finger at myself. I said, ‘If we lose, it’s on me.’ Before you point, you’ve got to look in the mirror first and say, ‘What could I have done?’” 

When asked about Bryant’s soliloquy about misplaced priorities on the team, Jackson said, “I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s been some distractions. … But we think that these guys are veterans and should be able to handle that.” 

When asked what distractions Bryant and Jackson may have been referring to, Artest said, “There were a lot of distractions, from my ring raffle to the green shoes. Nike came with the green shoes and adidas. There were a bunch of things going on.” 

It doesn’t get easier. Not only are the Spurs obviously a threat, but they’re beginning to put distance between themselves and the Lakers that will be challenging to close by the end of the regular season, when all-important home-court advantage will be determined. Clearly, before they get caught up in catching the Spurs, the Lakers have to get their own house in order first.
Posted on: November 17, 2010 10:31 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2010 4:08 pm
 

Artest says he's NFL-bound after basketball

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Nope, never a dull moment with Ron Artest.

In an interview airing later this week on CBSSports.com, Artest revealed that he intends to try out for an NFL team when his contract with the Lakers is up after the 2013-14 season. Artest, who taped the interview at the Lakers’ practice facility on Saturday, his 31st birthday, already has divulged that he’s been training for a second career as a heavyweight boxer when his basketball days are over. Little did we know that there’s another professional sport Artest wants to try.

Then again, knowing him, of course there is.

“God willing, after my NBA career, God willing I’m still athletic enough – which I’m trying to take care of my body as best as possible and be prepared for this day, for this tryout of an NFL team,” Artest said. “... It’s a fantasy of mine. It’s an opportunity because I’m athletic. So if that fantasy can be fulfilled, and if it’s something that can really be reached as far as a goal, I’m going for it.”

In the wide-ranging interview, which can be viewed in its entirety later this week on CBSSports.com, Artest also discussed his motivation behind auctioning off his championship ring to raise money and awareness in a personal crusade against mental illness; how he might feel if he sees the Celtics and Jermaine O’Neal in the NBA Finals, given that he feels like a “coward” in the presence of former Pacers teammates after the infamous Palace brawl in 2004; and his personal battle with alcohol.

“I do sip occasionally,” said Artest, who last season admitted that he used to drink Hennessy at halftime during his rookie season with the Chicago Bulls. “But the impressive thing for me is, I don’t even want a drink sometimes. ... During the season and during August and during training camp, I try to stay away from it. And the more I stayed away from it, the more I’d forget that I actually want to drink.”

Artest, who helped the Lakers win their second straight championship last season, said he’s raised more than $500,000 selling raffle tickets at $2 each – with a minimum purchase of five tickets – for the ring he spent 11 years pursuing. The winner will be determined on Christmas Day, before the Lakers play the Miami Heat, with the proceeds going to mental health charities.



Posted on: September 24, 2010 5:27 pm
 

Preseason Primers: Los Angeles Lakers


With one of the NBA's biggest stars, Carmelo Anthony, possibly on the verge of being traded, the offseason still hasn't ended. But it ended three months ago for the Lakers, who celebrated their second straight championship, made a couple of mundane moves, and got ready to do it all over again. The defending champs didn't make a Miami-like splash this summer, but they didn't need to. And the moves they did make clearly made them better. Word is that Kobe Bryant, entering his 15th season, can't wait to go to work. Miami won it all in July, but the Lakers are the undisputed Kings of June until proved otherwise.

Training camp site: El Segundo, Calif.

Training camp starts: Sept. 25

Key additions: Steve Blake (free agent), Matt Barnes (free agent), Theo Ratliff (free agent)

Key subtractions: Josh Powell (free agent), Jordan Farmar (free agent).

Likely starting lineup: Derek Fisher, PG; Kobe Bryant, SG; Ron Artest, SF; Pau Gasol, PF; Ratliff, C.

Player to watch: Andrew Bynum. As you can tell from his name being omitted from the training camp starting lineup (which matters only for scrimmaging purposes), Bynum is hurt again. Well, not so much hurt again, but rather still hurt – or better yet, not recovered. After the praise Bynum received for playing through a significant knee injury during the Finals, he’s receiving equal parts scorn for delaying surgery until after he completed a planned trip to the World Cup. Both were deserved. Coach Phil Jackson said Friday that he can’t see how Bynum will be ready for the start of the regular season.

Chemistry check: All the tension over Jackson’s future was relieved when the Zen Master decided to return for one more season. His unique ability to handle strange personalities (he has a few on this team) and his knack for getting under the opponent’s skin will be needed in a big way. If the Lakers started the NBA arms race by acquiring Gasol a couple of years ago, the Heat went nuclear by teaming Dwyane Wade with LeBron James and Chris Bosh. Suffice it to say, a certain Laker who wears No. 24 took note. Sources say Bryant’s competitive fire – always an inferno – has burning even hotter with the prospect of this challenge.

Injury watch: Besides Bynum, Bryant will be limited as he continues to recover from a laundry list of ailments that hindered him throughout last postseason. Lamar Odom is coming off a busy summer with Team USA, and Jackson plans to take it easy on him in camp. Luke Walton (back) will miss significant time, perhaps the entire season.

Camp battles: The Lakers really only face their usual battles with drama, with Kobe’s moods, and with Artest’s Twitter ramblings. Once Bynum is healthy, the rotation is pretty much set.

Biggest improvement: Mitch Kupchak watched LeBron’s decision only out of curiosity; the Lakers weren’t landing any marquee free agents this summer. But they did improve in a key area that will prove to be of utmost importance the deeper they get into the postseason. Their bench got a lot better. Blake is the best backup Fisher has had in a while, and his presence will allow re-signed Shannon Brown to be used more in a scoring role. Barnes brings Artest-like toughness to a second unit that also includes Odom, Ratliff, Blake and either Brown or Sasha Vujacic (until he’s traded.)

Biggest concern: They’re the two-time defending champs, so there are no glaring weaknesses. The biggest concern, as always, is Bynum. He is forever the wild-card for the Lakers. When it’s time to play the Spurs, Mavs, Celtics or Heat in May and June, the Lakers will go as far as Bynum can take them.
Posted on: June 10, 2010 3:55 pm
 

Pierce vs. Artest will be key to Game 4

BOSTON -- Lost in the officiating angst and Ray Allen's feast-or-famine shooting is a matchup that will be critical to the outcome of Game 4 of the NBA Finals Thursday night: Paul Pierce vs. Ron Artest.

As Mike Freeman has noted , Pierce has been notably absent from the Finals festivities thus far, averaging only 16.3 points while shooting 36 percent from the field. That's simply not good enough for the Celtics to win this series. Allen's 3-point shooting comes and goes, but Pierce needs to produce for Boston to take the momentum back from the Lakers.

Pierce has downplayed the notion that Artest's defense has anything to do with his lack of productivity in the first three games, but that's wishful thinking on his part. Sometimes Artest is a viable option on offense, and sometimes he shoots 1-for-10 or dribbles around aimlessly before launching an ill-advised shot. But one thing the guy does is play defense. Been doing it for years. This is why the Lakers signed him.

Well, not exactly. The Lakers signed him presuming they'd be facing LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the Finals, but the Celtics dispensed with Bron & Co. and proceeded to unleash a torrent of organizational change on the banks of Lake Erie. When you draw up a defensive game plan for the Celtics, the first guy you zero in on is Pierce. Phil Jackson and his staff haven't been required to do much in that regard other than put their arm around Artest, point to No. 34 in green and white, and say, "Get him."

Artest has, with brute force and quick hands and savvy that comes not from video study but gut instincts. Artest has said on several occasions during the playoffs that he doesn't study the opponent he's guarding, whether it's Kevin Durant, LeBron, or Pierce. On Friday, he explained why.

"I've seen every move in New York City, so I don’t have to study my opponent anymore," Artest said. "Every move that somebody has in the NBA, I’ve seen it already. I’ve seen it in New York already."

Artest was asked if he could still dominate a game defensively -- as if holding the Celtics' No. 1 scoring option to 36 percent shooting was somehow not dominant.

"I have before," Artest said. "I've dominated a game defensively and scored four points. You really don’t see it. It’s like that death blow, the Chinese blow? Where you hit and you don’t really feel it yet until it’s in you, and like five seconds later you kind of die? You've see that on TV?"

Sure, Ron. Anyway, Artest's approach to guarding Pierce hasn't been steeped in any nuance. Just straightforward grappling and a few playground tricks.

"I guess you just play the same way that you’ve been playing for all these years, but just stick to it," Artest said. "That’s why sometimes I have bad games because I'm playing the same way I've been playing for years. I try to get better, but one thing I have been doing for years is playing defense. I know how to change a game defensively, know little things I can do to disrupt everybody on the floor. Offensively sometimes, certain days, I may have 30 [points]. I've worked on that part of my game. Some days I might go 1 for 10. But defensively I can probably make somebody else shoot bad. So the days I don’t play well offensively, I've got to make sure I stay executing and maybe only take two shots or four shots, get some deflections, get some stops, pull out some old New York City tricks defensively and see what happens. See if it works."
 
It's worked so far on Pierce. If it keeps working, the Celtics are in trouble.

Posted on: May 29, 2010 8:12 pm
 

Gentry channels his inner Herm Edwards


PHOENIX -- In responding to Ron Artest's assessment of Steve Nash's quasi-guarantee of forcing a Game 7 in the Western Conference finals, Suns coach Alvin Gentry launched into a light-hearted defense of Nash and channeled his inner Herm Edwards.

"I don't really understand that," Gentry said before Game 6 Saturday night. "What's he supposed to say? We're supposed to try to win the game. We think we're going to win the game."

Then Gentry paused, smiled, and said, "You play ... to win ... the game. Hello?"

It was a classic moment about an hour before Game 6, one that lightened the mood with the Suns facing elimination and one that inadvertently caused my worlds to collide. I covered the Jets when Edwards was the coach, and was in the press conference room when Edwards launched into his "play-to-win-the-game" diatribe in 2002. As his team was playing out the string in a lost season, Edwards was asked how he planned to keep his players from quitting. Given Gentry's light-hearted Herm moment Saturday night, it's worth revisiting the original rant. One of the iconic moments of my career, and one that I can take absolutely no credit for. Like Artest Thursday night at the buzzer, I was just in the right place at the right time.

Gentry's version was done in fun, and was sparked by questions about Artest's comments at practice Friday in which he said Nash's statement showed "no respect." Artest expanded his analysis to say that Gentry didn't respect him because he was leaving him open to shoot the entire series.

For the record, after the Suns lost Game 5 on Artest's wild putback of Kobe Bryant's airball at the buzzer, Nash said, "They held home court. We'll go back and do the same and we'll come back here for Game 7."

As Gentry said, what else was he supposed to say?

"We expect to win the game," Gentry said. "If that's guaranteeing it, then write it down, that we guarantee we're going to win the game. We're supposed to try to win the game. ... You guys really have run out of angles."

As for his strategy to concentrate on Bryant at the expense of leaving Artest open throughout the series, Gentry said good-naturedly, "Do you think Ron knows who I am? Listen guys, it has nothing to do with disrespecting Ron. It has everything to do with respecting Kobe."

Informed of Gentry's comment in the locker room before the game, Artest said, "I guess it's both. Respect and disrespect. Who knows? It's OK. We'll get our respect back."

Not to add fuel to the fire, but the Suns -- as they should -- absolutely believed Game 6 would not be their last of the season. On a white board in the Suns' locker room before the game was the following line: "Poker game @ 1 p.m.  on Sunday on da PLANE."

You play poker to win the game, too.




 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com