Ron Artest is a Laker starter, but when it comes time to close out games this season Shannon Brown and Matt Barnes tend to get the fourth quarter run. Mostly because those two are better offensive players.
Don’t think that Artest hasn’t noticed. Kevin Ding has quotes from the Orange County Register.
“I didn’t even get a chance to be a distraction. I only played 20 minutes,” Artest said about the Lakers’ Christmas loss to Miami.
“I thought I played pretty well last game … in limited minutes,” Artest said. “It was unfortunate I couldn’t get off the bench in the fourth quarter. I felt pretty good.”
“I was almost having a semi-breakout game. … I was really close to having a breakout game. I felt good the past couple games. It’s just unfortunate I’m not able to work my way off the bench.”
I remember it differently. I remember Artest getting two quick fouls guarding LeBron (and LeBron having a good game against him, something more detailed research confirmed). I remember his substitution throwing off the Lakers rotations. I see Artest shooting 39 percent on the season and 33.8 percent from three, both numbers down from last season.
I see Phil Jackson with options and going with ones that give the team a better chance to win right now. For Artest, have the breakthrough game and you’ll get the run.
Last season — and into the playoffs — Artest had some key late game plays for the Lakers, but he’s going to have to earn that trust again.