Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Artest Puts the Smack Down

In the days leading up to a suddenly important Kings-Lakers showdown, Ron Artest stated that he was going to "shut Kobe down." It got some play on PTI and seemed to spark some renewed interest into what was the league's best rivarly a few years ago. Until Artest made that statement, this was just a battle for the seventh seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Big deal. Now though, it is the start of a fued between arguably the best offensive and defensive players in the league. Now that is worth talking about.

Not only that, but the first round results are in. The Kings won 114-98 and continued to sky rocket up the Western Conference standings. As predicted weeks ago on this very blog, Sacramento is emerging as the "hot second half team" of 2006 and appears likely to grab the coveted sixth seed out West. They are 15-8 since Artest arrived and 9-2 over their last 11 since Brad Miller got back into the linuep. Not to toot my own horn on this one, but "beep, beep." (I guess I'm obligated to also mention that this very blog also correctly predicted that Edge would sign with Arizona, also in a post make several weeks ago. Hey, I'm just reporting the facts.)

So advantage Kings in this matchup, but the question remains: did Artest "shut Kobe down"? Considering that Bryant went for 30, 7, and 7, it is hard to call that shutting someone down. But when you consider that Artest scored 28 points of his own on almost half the field goal attempts (Kobe was 12-for-28, Artest 8-for-15), there is no doubt that Round One goes to Artest. Lets hope this is the first of many great battles.

1 comment:

Jack O. said...

I would say that definitely qualifies as shutting someone down. Yeah, Kobe racked up some stats, but the Lakers lost by 16 and he missed 16 shots. If LeBron had done that, everyone would have crucified him. It's weird, ever since the 81 point game, Kobe gets a free pass for everything now. People are even talking about him as an MVP candidate, which is absurd, considering the Lakers are in 8th in the West.