Pardon Me But East Meets Wests & Ron Artest Merely Proves To Me What An A_s He Has Always Been But At Least Rodman Brought His Bucket and Lunch Pail When He Came To Play.
Yesterday’s marquee matchup in the NBA happened to be between last year’s finalists the Los Angeles Lakers (46-18) and Orlando Magic (44-20) . The Western Conference leading Lakers were looking to avoid a three game falloff in terms of successive losses. The last time that happened to the Phil Jackson coached Lakers, was three years ago. And for the Eastern Conference Magic team , this was a game Wherein, they could gauge themselves against the very best that the West had to offer.
Lakers’ player Ron Artest sports his latest hair style as homage to former Lakers’ , Bulls’ Pistons and Spurs’ player Dennis Rodman. Pity that Artest forgot the bring along the defensive and rebounding zeal that Rodman was often known for. His play for the Lakers since he was acquired by the team has been less than average at best. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/ Getty Images/ Fernando Medina …
The Orlando Magic for their part,other than the Cleveland Cavaliers might be playing the best of the triumvirate of teams that many felt in the East, would be in contention to be the conference’s representative in the NBA Finals. While the Boston Celtics ‘eked out’ a hard fought victory 86-83 over the lowly Washington Wizards . Were it not for the play of both Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo , the result of the game would most certainly have been different.
The ever wistful Stan Van Gundy was hoping to see some resilience from his team and he wasn’t let down in that respect. The effort forthcoming was exemplified in the play of Marcin Gortat , Mickael Pietrus and Matt Barnes . And though Kobe Bryant led all scorers with 34 points in the game which resulted in a 96-94 win for the Orlando Magic. For the Magic their leading scorer was Vince Carter . Bryant’s day , albeit that he wasn’t his usual customary self . It was nowhere his best performance of the season , as for much of the game he was harried and harassed by the defensive presence of Barnes. And as far as team support from his teammates, Bryant was hardly supported at all. Other than the 20 points thrown in by Pau Gasol , the Lakers’ performance was simply lackluster. And defensively the performance of Ron Artest simply showed why this experiment on the face of it , is still a work in progress.
Courtesy of ESPN Chicago.com
Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest, who sported a Dennis Rodman-like yellow hair style on Sunday against the Orlando Magic, said he doesn’t mind the comparison.
In fact, Artest, who like Rodman is a former Chicago Bulls forward, said he’s a long-time Rodman fan.
“You can’t compare me to a man with five rings,” Artest said Monday on “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on ESPN 1000. “But I’ve never shied away from that Dennis Rodman question.
“I’m a big Dennis Rodman fan. I’ve been a Dennis Rodman fan since he was in the NBA, even when he was in the midst of his controversies and when he was winning championships. I’ve been with Dennis Rodman through bad and good. That’s never going to change. Ever.”
Artest said the colorful hair was more to celebrate the moment than an homage to Rodman.
“We were on ABC, so I wanted to give the people something special, and I thought that would be the coolest thing to do,” he said. “I was trying to figure out what kind of design to put in my hair for that game. I was just going to put ‘Lakers,’ — I like to put ‘Lakers’ in my hair. This time i thought why not put ‘Defense’?”
So Artest put ‘Defense’ in three different languages. It didn’t help as the Lakers suffered their first three-game losing streak since January, 2008.
Artest critiqued his first year with the Lakers favorably.
“I think I’m doing great,” he said. “I’m playing a role that people thought I wouldn’t be able to play, as far as not being that main option.
“I’m happy with that. I have to master my role. I haven’t played a role like this in a long time.”
For those of us who watched the game and the sheer idiocy of Artest’s appearance notwithstanding. The player with his hair dyed bright yellow and the word ‘defense’ etched into his head in Hebrew , Arabic and Japanese. Unfortunately for Artest his idea of defense on the day was about recognizable and event as the first sighting of Halley’s Comet. Artest said to be an admirer of one of the game’s best ever defenders in , Dennis Rodman . Any comparisons that Artest would like to make about himself to the former Bulls and Piston’s great would have to be measured against Artest’s lack of real understanding of the game. His performance for the Lakers, as was that of his teammates , was totally abysmal , in terms of defensive showing ! And as I alluded to earlier , other than Gasol and Bryant , the team showed that unless the two combined score in excess of 55 – 60 points. Then more often than not the Lakers tend to end up losing a game. The output from the Lakers’ bench players was anemic at best and it shows how much this Lakers’ team actually misses the presence of Trevor Ariza . And if as is many have prescribed to the fact that the Lakers have depth on their bench. Then clearly yesterday’s showing cannot justify the claim that they possess the best bench in the entire NBA. Combining for 16 points 7 rebounds and one steal shows me that this team has its problems. And those problems will need to be acutely addressed by Phil Jackson and his coaching staff . If not, then there’s no way that “this team can successfully defend” their Western Conference crown , much less their NBA title !
If anything the Lakers have become too complacent and are of the opinion that theirs by right will be a cakewalk in terms of a successful defense of their NBA title. For Kobe Bryant as the vocal leader of this team . He alongside Phil Jackson has to impart on this team that it’s more difficult to successfully defend a title than it is to win it for the very first time. One would’ve thought that with the experience of both Bryant Jackson and Derek Fisher , this would have been prevalent upon this roster of players ? And somehow you would’ve thought that these three stoic veterans would impart that knowledge upon the younger players on the team ?
For the Orlando Magic and their fans, in what was a soldout crowd at the Amway Arena in Orlando and watched by countless millions on ABC television , this was a game which they could savor. And though it can’t be seen as redemption in making up for the loss in last season’s NBA Finals . A devastating 4-1 series’ loss put an end to the hope that the Magic would win their very first NBA title. And it gave the team’s GM Otis Smith the resolve he needed to make the changes on the roster that would make them legitimate championship contender in within the NBA for an NBA title.The front office led by owner, Rich De Vos has to be more than happy with the present situation concerning not only the organization but also the team and the fan support at present. With the team being built primarily around Dwight Howard and augmented by players such Vince Carter , Matt Barnes , Marcin Gortat, Jason Williams and Jameer Nelson . This could be the year that the Orlando Magic redeem themselves. But that would be predicated upon them first taking care of business within the Eastern Conference during the playoffs.
For now the Magic fans may well just live in the moment and enjoy the victory. Because once the playoffs begin there will be a great deal more work to be done. And the whole coaching staff , team and organization (front office) had all better be on the same page. As it will take a concerted effort to win not only the Eastern Conference Championship but also the ‘NBA title’ itself. That will be the ‘true test’ for this ‘newly found confident’ Orlando Magic ‘team’ .
Alan Parkins aka theoraclesays aka tophatal
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