Kobe Bryant with 3 seconds left in the clock went to a fade away off balance shot and Ron Artest squeezed in his strong body just as Jason Richardson forgot to box out. The moment the ball bounce out the rim, Artest’s eyes grew bigger and everything seems to be in slow motion…He knew that this is his moment… after two untimely shots, one from below the free throw line and the other a three point shot with lots of time remaining in the clock, this was his time for redemption…
The brawl, the locker beer drinking days on his rookie year, all the technical fouls, suspensions and eccentric behavior, Ron Artest has endured all the criticism, the insults and emotional stress but those crucial miss would forever haunt him. The Lakers have been a sanctuary for Artest… this was his fresh start; a change of scenario… gone is his ghetto days this is his start of chasing championships not bleacher fans… There was no way he could miss such an essential shot… no way…
The Lakers signed Artest because he brings toughness to a different level. Trevor Ariza can make a good argument about it but as far as defense and physical plays it’s still a no contest. Phil Jackson knows that coaching Artest is already a package the same package Jackson took on one eccentric forward named Dennis Rodman. That’s why Ron felt at home with the Lakers because he was accepted and everybody understood his role… Defense… nothing more nothing less. A missed layup or air ball shots are forgiven but a miss defensive assignment is already a mortal sin. But Game 5 was a different scenario; series tied at 2 apiece the Lakers badly needed that win especially after blowing an 18 point lead. This was Artest’s time to shine “It means a lot for him,” Bryant said. “I think for him emotionally, it’s a big boost…”
It was an awkward shot as Ron Artest caught the ball and throws a remarkable bank shot. The Lakers now lead the series 3-2 against the Phoenix Suns, but the battle is far from over. They still need to close out the series in hostile land a feat they failed to do in games 3 and 4. Ron as eccentric as he is became an instant hero… he did it in an awkward way… The way he was known for.
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