Monday, June 14th, 2010 at 9:00 am  |  22 responses

Ron Artest’s Choke Job at the Free Throw Line

Not only did he get torched by Paul Pierce, but Ron-Ron bricked two critical freebies at the worst possible time for the Lakers in Game 5. From the LA Times: “The Lakers had just cut a 12-point lead down to five points, the momentum in Game 5 of the NBA Finals suddenly shifting away from the Celtics, the opportunity to keep Boston reeling presented to Ron Artest when he stepped to the free-throw line. Make two free throws and the Celtics’ lead is sliced to three points. Miss two free throws and the Celtics get a reprieve. Artest was unable to deliver, which was just another moment in the game in which the 6-7 forward failed to help the Lakers in the pivotal game of the best-of-seven series. And after the Lakers lost to the Celtics, 92-86, Sunday night at TD Garden, after he scored just seven points on two-for-nine shooting, made just one of four free throws, grabbed just two rebounds, scored just seven points and lost in his matchup against Boston’s Paul Pierce, Artest stuck to his familiar refrain. After all 82 regular-season games and now all 21 playoff games, Artest has maintained he was not looking back, that now he is looking ahead to Game 6 Tuesday night at Staples Center. ‘I just got to keep on moving on,’ Artest said. ‘Good or bad, I’ve got to move on. I’ve still got a game to play.’ That next game is the biggest of the season so far for the Lakers and Artest. ‘It was tough,’ said Artest, who is making just 46.7% of his free throws in the Finals. ‘You want those to go down. I’ve got to get to the free-throw line a little bit earlier in the game so I can get to the free-throw line and make my free throws. I should have made them anyway. I had four chances to make free throws. Next time I’ll knock them down.”‘

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  • Elias

    Damn I miss Ariza, he would’ve dunked it and maybe gotten an and 1.

  • T-Money

    30% from the field and 50% from the line. Wow.

  • kriz

    lol @ laker fans being confident they are going to win this series still. in game 1 kobe got to the rim at will just about. that hasnt happened since then. so LA will have a tough time winning in LA if allen can find his shot which is more than likely

  • Yesse

    Artest’s percentage is very very low for a small forward. I always knew getting Artest instead of Ariza was gonna slow them down, but i wasnt expecting it to be this bad. Ariza would have probably ran away from Pierce in that play and slammed it in. He could have created even more fastbreak opportunities for LA.

  • riggs

    somewhere trevor ariza is laughin his a** off

  • sbrubbles

    @Yesse: true, but would’ve Ariza contained Pierce as well as Artest (the past four games)?

  • http://www.pablasso.com pablasso

    Dammit Ron, i knew Ariza was a better fit, but i didn’t expect you to hurt the lakers so much. I mean, LA won the series against phoenix despite of you.

  • vtrobot

    ron’s right, he has A game to play. one more. not two. hitting keys FTs is all about calming down your mind. can you imagine what is going on in ron’s mind 100% of the time? i think it’s the opposite of calm. if i were an LA fan, i’d miss trevor too. dude had some smooth game during their run last year. as a c’s fan, i was very happy that he was out in ’08.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/users/42594-hoops4life Overtime

    In fairness, no one was stopping Paul Pierce last night. But those free throws really did send my head into my hands. The lakers just didnt wanna play D last night, they should have ridden that Kobe third quater to a lead. Kobe hits stupidly hard shot….celtics get open layup….kobe hits a harder shot…celtics get open layup

  • d’bri

    now Ariza is a better fit. after game 1 and 3, Ron was brought in solely to slow PP down and was a great addition. love hate relationships are hard. C fans know, had one all year with Rasheed.

  • jumpman3224

    I guess that’s the rub with Ron. In this system he has turned into a Defense only guy and when he is not looking someone down. He also refused to foul Rondo in the same situation, which hurt. But this shouldnt all fall on Ron-Ron. The Lakers couldn’t get stops and when they did, they commited an off-ball foul or let the rebound or get a 24 sec violation called incorrectly. They need more from Gasol. Their best chance moving forward is to have Kobe be the best player on the court and Gasol, be damn near close. When it comes down to it though, gotta win 2 games in a row at home for the title. I still believe.

  • vtrobot

    @ jumpman: that ray 24-second violation-”saving” heave was another one of the weird calls of the series. they reviewed that one, right? from one of the 6 angles i guess you could have thought it hit the rim. from about 5 angles, it looked like it missed the rim by about a foot. still reffing in games 4 and 5 has definitely been getter than reffing in games 1 – 3.

  • jumpman3224

    @vtrobot: no review, they can’t review shot clock violations (no sense, huh?). They did have a quick conference and decide to stick the on-court call in favor of Boston. Yeah, I’m not going to get on the refs. It’s part of the game and that was just an example of a bad break.

  • http://www.pablasso.com pablasso

    @d’bri: you just can’t generalize opinions, i was never sold on Artest over Ariza, i’m his fan since last year when he added the 3 pt threat to his defense.

    Artest is a nice guy, but his defense is overrated and his offense unpredictable.

  • http://www.twitter.com/dfrance21 dfrance

    I personally thought the shot hit the rim. if you look at the angle from the front you see the ball change direction before bouncing off the glass. unfortunately the refs couldn’t review it.

    What is a reviewable play if not a shot clock violation discrepency? They need to broaden the use of instant replay, but not so much that it slows down the game.

  • fizzrocket

    On the flip side, Trevor Ariza didn’t even make the playoffs, but still. Artest has been brutal.

  • KH

    why did he slow down to try and draw contact if he wasn’t going to try and finsih stronger than he did? My coach used to scream at us when we would slow down on an “open” layup to try and draw the foul. In this case I understand why.

  • backboard

    what KH said!!! That pi$$ed me of soooo much! Why did he slow down…. just make the darn layup!

  • http://www.stuffwhitepeoplelike.com Tarzan Cooper

    Wheres that playoff legend fisher?

  • http://www.twitter.com/Th3_R3al_Chris Th3_R3al_Chris

    Tarzan, his legend was solidified in game 3. That’s like asking Nate and Baby to reproduce their act last night. Role-players may put their imprints on a game or two in a series, but they can’t be called upon every game.

  • thalilbigkahuna

    Ariza would have gotten the and one, made the free throw, and stolen that pass from pierce to rondo at the end.

  • The Philosopher

    When has Artest ever been clutch? Artest has never REALLY been clutch. He got lucky one time.