Evidentiary Hearing

If after watching Kings-Jazz, you don't know why more than 80% of us think keeping Ron Artest past this season is a bad idea, you need to watch said game again.

For those who missed it: He was insane. Bad insane. Screaming after an otherwise nice putback. Gesticulating at the fans after a Kyle Korver turnover. Square dancing with Matt Harpring, and getting in his face. Letting his aggression leave his game and enter his psyche.

Ron's best attribute as a player is his ferocity. His worst attribute as a player is his lack of control of his ferocity. He's an unchecked lion; I don't care if you're Reggie Theus or Bill Cartwright or Chuck Person or Isiah Thomas: You cannot control Ron Artest. It's plainly simple. And that huge win in Detroit was the impetus -- that was the game in which goading the (already hostile) crowd was seen as some sort of boon, a laugh. Problem: The crowd in Utah was not in this game... until Ron piped up.

I don't want to put the loss on his shoulders, because (through no fault of his own) Brad Miller with an Uzi couldn't stop Carlos Boozer, and 4 of 11 from your starting point guard (with 4 assists to two turnovers in 37 minutes; nice to see that platoon working out) will do no favors (especially when the counterpart goes 7 of 14 and turns up 14 assists). But other than the (whopping) six offensive rebounds, there was nothing good about Ron's game. His defense provided nothing, his offense provided little, and -- coincidence or not -- his little burst of Tarzan in the third was succeeded immediately by a 9-0 run for Utah. In the end, that run sealed the game. Again, Artest may not have to carry sole blame... but he did the opposite of helping matters.

I'm rather sick of going over this again and again and again; you know my feelings on Ron and this team. So, on a brighter note, my two favorite things about the game:

  • This quote from Kevin Martin.
    "I ain't going to get pushed around," Martin said of [Matt] Harpring. "I don't care what my frame looks like."

  • The only successful Sacramento pick-and-roll of the night... Quincy Douby to Spencer Hawes with 1:30 left in the fourth and Utah up by 13.

I'm pretty easy to please.

UPDATE: Alright, I was the among first to point out Artest acted like an idiot last year. But the guys from the Salt Lake Tribune are going a little lot too far with wild comparisons to the brawl in Detroit. Here's beat writer Ross Siler:

Walking out of the arena, I said a quiet thanks that we avoided the sequel to the infamous 2004 brawl at the Palace of Auburn Hills. That was instigated by Artest, who received a 73-game suspension, and he was at it against Friday night.

Artest was a ticking time bomb on the floor and you have to question both the referees and Sacramento coach Reggie Theus for not getting him out of the game well before he was ejected with 4:34 to play.

Give me a break. Like I said, he was being an idiot. He's been at it for a week. Utah isn't some magically hostile place which gives Ron-Ron flashbacks to Detroit. And at no point was anything so vicious I even considered an incident -- other than a Harpring-Artest shoving match -- would happen. Yes, he deserved to be ejected. But this wasn't a dangerous situation. Reporting as such is between misguided and lazy. (And Siler's assertion that Ron stepping between Martin and Harpring proves Ron's crazy is inane.)
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