NBA: Lakers’ Artest starting to see all sides of the equation
By Lisa Dillman
Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES — They say it takes at least a year to become truly comfortable with a new subject.
So what about Professor Phil Jackson and Triangle 101?
You want to get more than a passing grade at this stage of the playoffs, and Los Angeles Lakers forward/student Ron Artest is reporting a much greater ease with the books.
"I've been comfortable for a while, but it's been off and on," he said after practice Friday. "It's not easy. They say the last couple of players that got traded to Coach Jackson's team took . . . a while to get used to the triangle.
"You could think that's not true or you could think it should be easy to do it. There's probably some truth to that. I've only been here not even a year yet."
Artest managed to hit three three-point attempts in Game 2 and was six for nine from the field in scoring 18 points, a slight uptick from his Game 1 performance of 14 points.
There is, apparently, no explanation for his enhanced shooting.
"I'm not sure. I have no clue. I really don't. I really don't," Artest said. ". . . All I do is shoot it. . . . I don't know what it's doing."
More shooting practice in the gym?
"I don't know," he said. "I shoot a lot every day. When I was going 0 for 10 or whenever that was, I was in here shooting."
Back to his comfort level with the triangle offense: Artest managed to get off a good line about his teammates.
"There are still guys that don't know the triangle and they've been here longer than me," he said, looking amused.
And they would be . . .
"I'm not saying no names," Artest said.
Not even on Twitter.
For the record, Artest said he has stopped tweeting during the playoffs. Wonder if it had something to do with his Twitter criticism of Jackson during the Utah series.
Now, that seems so last year. Or so two weeks ago.
The Lakers, befitting their 2-0 lead over the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference finals, seem like one big happy family. Perhaps the happy family other players want to join.
In the space of an afternoon, a report surfaced that soon-to-be free agent Chris Bosh of the Toronto Raptors had included the Lakers among his preferred destinations, a supposed group of five teams. Just as quickly, his agent rebutted that story, telling the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that he hadn't "closed the door on anything."
Age is relative
Kobe Bryant made a joking reference about being old after Game 2. He called talk about his age "entertaining" and "funny."
"The notion that I'm old and that I won't figure things out," he said. "That's the part that's really funny to me. Like I said, they should know me better."
That's why Bryant looked anything but amused and entertained.
Bryant said he was impressed by how Andrew Bynum has handled his latest injury issues.
"I think he's shown maturity," Bryant said. "Because there are certain injuries you can't just will yourself through and the knee is one of them."
Injuries have curtailed the participation of Bryant and Bynum in team sessions, including Friday, but Jackson made sure they got in some limited activity along with the usual therapy sessions.
"Andrew did some on-the-court work, did some things in the post, individual post moves," Jackson said.