Artest to Play Game 6 Despite Amnesia
Lakers coach Phil Jackson said Artest, a day after hitting the game-winning putback shot at the buzzer in Thursday's 103-101 Game 5 Western Conference finals win over the Suns, was 30 minutes late for practice Friday morning and was fined an undisclosed amount. Jackson's revelation came after Artest already had left the Lakers practice facility Friday.
Asked by FanHouse before Saturday's game against the Suns if he was late for practice, Artest said, "I don't remember."
Asked if he was fined by the Lakers, Artest said, "I'm not sure."
Pressed on the subject, Artest, whose layup after a Kobe Bryant airball gave the Lakers a 3-2 series lead, said, "I'm just worried about Game 6 right now."
Considering his turbulent career, it would figure that, one night after the greatest shot of his career, Artest would be fined for showing up late for practice.
"Nothing Ron Artest does surprises me," Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Charles Barkley said in an interview before Saturday's game. "Nothing he does surprises me. Nothing. Good or bad."
Jackson on Friday didn't seem too bent out of shape about Artest's fine.
"It was just one of those nights," Jackson said. "I think he was just so excited after the game that all that processing and things that were on the board (in the locker room) there didn't all register."
OK, one more try, Ron. Did you perhaps just read the board wrong, as Jackson suggested?
"I can't recall,'' he said.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter@christomasson