Ron Artest didn’t have a great game last night in Phoenix (11 points, 4 of 10 shooting, 4 boards, 4 dimes). We’ve seen him play better defense. He’s had better shooting nights. But by showing up and being an integral part of a Laker victory amid controversy says a lot about Ron Ron.
Artest isn’t checking out on this team. By hitting a few clutch shots in the desert he’s proven that his desire to contribute remains. By putting forth an inspired effort when it was most needed, Artest has told the hoops world that he’s not reverting to his ways of old.
Quite the opposite, in fact, Artest is stepping up to the challenge. Maybe Phil Jackson’s misguided motivational tactics were just what Ron needed. Could this be further validation of the Zen Master’s Hall of Fame ways? Only time will tell on that one.
For now it’s nice to know that Artest isn’t going to cower in the corner as his championship hopes fade. No doubt Ron wants his ring. Being that he’s not the type to ask for his first ring back, Ron is out to earn another one. So long as that hunger remains the hopes of hanging another banner are alive.
This team can’t win without a focused Ron. We’re willing to live with a few moments of madness. With Artest you don’t have much other choice, so long as he’s still delivering the goods in key moments.
Last night in Phoneix, when Ron had every reason to roll over and sulk, he answered the bell and balled with passion and pride. Hopefully the lessons learned this week will carry throughout the rest of the regular season. At least we know we’re not losing Artest to off-court distractions. Now…Lamar Odom on the other hand…well, that’s another story.