Just goes to show when Kobe is off, Ron can be counted on to step up.
O.C. Register: Did you sense it, Lakers fans?
Kobe Bryant did.
Bryant felt it as surely as Denver’s Carmelo Anthony felt Ron Artest’s breath Sunday. And his forearms and his bowed chest and, quite possibly given how close the two players were throughout, a couple of Artest’s internal organs.
In his team’s 60th game of the season, Artest officially became a Laker, formally arrived as theLaker this team will need in the coming three or four months.
Here it was, the last day of February, and the Lakers finally made a key free-agent sighting.
“He earned his money,” Bryant said of Artest, who didn’t fight through the Nuggets’ repeated picks Sunday as much as he MMA’d through them. “That’s what he’s here for – play defense and make life uncomfortable for the other team. He’s here for these situations, these types of small forwards.”
It’s possible this particular forward never looked smaller than Carmelo Anthony did the moment he fouled out, Artest absorbing one too many body shots and drawing Anthony’s sixth personal with the Nuggets in position in a four-point game.
It was the sort of call not often made in the NBA. It was the sort of call rarely made in the final three minutes. It was the sort of call almost never made when the result is the disqualification of a star player.