I’m no history buff, but I can’t imagine any other possible scenario where a human being has ever vindicated themselves within the claustrophobic confines of a single minute. Ron Artest may as well have just thrown boxes of Sour Patch Kids into the crowd as he doused the mouths of all Laker fans with a shot of sour, then rinsed us off with a splash of sweet.
I can’t allow myself to lie and say that I didn’t berate Ron for the ill-advised three that he launched just one second into a newborn shot clock with 52 seconds left in the game and the Lakers leading by a meager three points. Once Jason Richardson sped down the 10 freeway and stole a three of his own from the bank, all of Lakers Nation undoubtedly collapsed in stunned disbelief.
That is when Ron promptly flexed his muscles and thug-raided J Rich’s glory. As Kobe’s last-second shot attempt trickled short towards the ground, Artest ambushed the lane from the opposite end, snatched it and instinctively pitched it in off glass, nudging the Lakers to within one win from a third straight NBA Finals appearance. To the naysayers, if you think that was luck, don’t waste your time playing the lottery.
While Artest’s game winner was earned, the Lakers as team were very fortunate to escape with the crucial swing-game victory, pushing the franchise record to 19-0 in Game 5 when a best-of-seven series is tied at 2-2. We needed every point, rebound, block and by this margin, even every missed Suns free throw (20-29).
Regardless, the Lakers played hard and our veteran leaders, through playoff-tested resolve, kept the game in hand and truly led by example last night.
NEXT: Fish and Kobe