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MavKikiNYC
10-12-2005, 09:19 AM
Artest Returns but Says He Won't Back Down

By JOHN ELIGON
Published: October 12, 2005

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Oct. 11 - Before playing his first N.B.A. game in almost 11 months Tuesday night, Pacers forward Ron Artest insisted he had learned from last year's brawl with Detroit Pistons fans, which resulted in the longest suspension in league history.

But even if he has matured, do not expect Artest to be mild-mannered every time he plays or politically correct every time he speaks.

Talking with reporters at Continental Arena before Indiana lost to the Nets, 105-103, in the preseason opener for both teams, Artest showed he was still in touch with his inner Rodman.

"I'm going to be very edgy, and I'm not going to balance it," he said. "I'm ready to play some games and sell some records."

Artest's return to the court went off without incident and he had 8 points and 3 rebounds. Perhaps more telling, however, was that the Nets' Vince Carter, whom Artest guarded during most of his 12 minutes in the game, scored 18 points.

"I thought Ron struggled," Pacers Coach Rick Carlisle said. "At times, he went away from what we were doing as a team, and that disappointed me."

The Nets' three stars - Carter, Jason Kidd and Richard Jefferson - each played less than 20 minutes in the team's first tuneup.

Guard Zoran Planinic hit a running layup with 5.9 seconds remaining to give the Nets the victory.

The newly acquired big man Marc Jackson displayed Alonzo Mourning-like qualities. He was boisterous in every thing he did - screaming for help on defense, leaping over two Indiana players for a rebound and bowling into the lane to attempt a layup.

"That's just me," said Jackson, who sustained a mild groin strain but said he would be O.K. "I just love this game."

Artest seemed mellow. He has not played an official N.B.A. game, nor has he sold many records, since Nov. 19, when he climbed into the stands at the Palace of Auburn Hills in search of a fan who had thrown a cup of liquid on him. That cost Artest the final 73 games of the regular season, as well as the Pacers' 13 postseason games.

Artest made it clear that he was eager to lace up his basketball shoes again.

Artest, 25, said he played a lot of pickup games and practiced with the Pacers during his suspension. But he acknowledged he needed time to settle in.

"I've got to just let it come to me in the offense," Artest said after the game. "I just kept adjusting defensively. When I left last season, it was a totally different style, so I have to get back my timing and adjust."

Artest started on Tuesday night, but Carlisle has considered bringing him off the bench, hoping he will bring more offense to the second unit.

Although some may wonder whether Artest will be worried that the officials will watch him more closely than other players and will back down his aggressive play, Carlisle has no such apprehension.

"He's here to play, he's here to win," Carlisle said. "His moods are much more affected by winning and losing than anything else. I love having guys like that."

Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal said he was happy to have Artest back for his skills and his personality.

O'Neal said he had seen a relaxed Artest during training camp. Artest, usually quiet, has been very talkative and upbeat, O'Neal said.

"He's more at peace," O'Neal said. "He's a really happy guy right now. He really likes to be around the locker room and the guys now."

Fans at the Meadowlands had little reaction to Artest. But he will probably be subject to heckling as the season progresses. He assured that there would not be a repeat of what happened last year at the Palace.

"I'm only worried about my fans," Artest said. "That's it. Indiana fans."

alby
10-12-2005, 10:56 AM
i love him

MavKikiNYC
10-12-2005, 11:23 AM
Originally posted by: alby
i love him

Be that as it may, if Artest isn't able to contribute and fit into the system that Carlisle is running, that doesn't bode well for team chemistry or Artest's own personal stability, regardless of what elephant-sized dose of Lexaprozac they can pump into him.

capitalcity
10-12-2005, 12:07 PM
Crazy like a fox.

rakesh.s
10-12-2005, 12:09 PM
Artest to the clippers for Maggette doesn't sound so implausible

alby
10-12-2005, 05:17 PM
are you kidding me, artest is a mvp-type player...

maggette who?

Thespiralgoeson
10-12-2005, 05:39 PM
Originally posted by: alby
are you kidding me, artest is a mvp-type player...

maggette who?

Agreed. Indiana is still my pick for the east, and I pick Artest for defensive player of the year again.

DevinHarriswillstart
10-12-2005, 06:52 PM
We'll see. It seems like Artest's attitude hasn't changed that much. I'm sorry but after his horrid incident which has changed the look of the game a lot, Artest would be better off just keeping his mouth shut. He and Kenny Rogers can join each other in anger management.

Thespiralgoeson
10-12-2005, 06:59 PM
Originally posted by: DevinHarriswillstart
We'll see. It seems like Artest's attitude hasn't changed that much. I'm sorry but after his horrid incident which has changed the look of the game a lot, Artest would be better off just keeping his mouth shut. He and Kenny Rogers can join each other in anger management.

Hey, the guy's a lunatic, nobody's disputing that. But the guy can flat-out ball.

EricaLubarsky
10-12-2005, 10:16 PM
Indiana is incredibly overrated. They may make me eat my words but they are worse this year than last

poohrichardson
10-12-2005, 10:41 PM
Originally posted by: EricaLubarsky
Indiana is incredibly overrated. They may make me eat my words but they are worse this year than last



Do you mean going into the season? Because if you think this team is going to win fewer than 55 games you're crazy.

EricaLubarsky
10-12-2005, 10:43 PM
call me crazy then. I've been called worse. 50-52

Thespiralgoeson
10-12-2005, 11:06 PM
Well Erica, then let me be one of the people who calls you crazy. How exactly is this team worse than last year? And if all you're gonna say is "veteran leadership" then save it, because the idea that losing Reggie Miller will be their undoing is almost the same as Madape predicting the Mavs to finish 7th because we lost Fin. This Indiana team is better than the 03-04 team that won 61 games. Unless JO's shoulder hasn't healed, or Artest misses the season again, I'll be downright shocked if they don't win the East.

Five-ofan
10-12-2005, 11:50 PM
They may be worse than they went into last season but they were MUCH MUCH worse after the suspensions then they were going into the season. Ericka Im not gonna call you crazy because your opinion is as valid as ours but I just dont see them as less than a 55 win team unless we get a Palace part 2 or a bunch of key injuries. They still made the playoffs a combined 130 or so games missed by their 3 best players. That is insane. They are to talented not to win around 55 games or so.