Lakers’ Lessons: What We Learned From Game Two

Say what you will about Ron Artest's ever-changing hairstyle, about his inability to consistently convert on the open jump shot, about his tendency to create a superficial four-on-five disadvantage for the Los Angeles Lakers' offense.

I'll say this: The Lakers' 95-92 escape from the Oklahoma City Thunder in game two of the Western Conference quarterfinals on Tuesday night officially sealed, stamped and sent away the "Ron Artest and the Lakers are like oil and water" envelope.

After holding Kevin Durant to a 7-for-24 afternoon in game one, Ron-Ron wrestled and rallied and when it was all said and done, racked up another reason why LA acquired him last summer.

A look at the box score indicates Durant's team-high 32 points proved to be the kryptonite to Artest's superman defense, yet the youngest scoring champion in NBA history was hampered and harassed by Artest during a highly-contested second half in which Durant struggled, shooting just 4-for-12 after finishing the first 24 minutes with eight baskets in 14 attempts.

To add salt to KD's wound, he tied a season-high by turning the ball over eight times over the course of the contest.

And with under two minutes remaining in the final frame and the game still very much in the balance, two of Artest's four takeaways—all of which came from the hands of Durant, no pun intended—came to fruition, as the ten year vet displayed his defensive prowess, inducing two Durant turnovers on back-to-back possessions and fighting through a myriad of screens on another, which ultimately led to his third foul, this one of the offensive variety.

In 2009 Kobe Bryant, referring to Artest, said something to the effect of, "I'd rather play with him than against him."

Now you know why.

Read more Los Angeles Lakers news on


About the Author