Ron Artest Is Picking Chunks of Danny Granger Out of His Teeth

The data exhaust from tonight's Laker game, a routine but delightful 122 to 99 clubbing of the Indiana Pacers, is remarkable in many respects. My favorite among the numbers, though, is this: Dahntay Jones, 15 field goal attempts. That's the most fired up by any Pacer, and in case you didn't catch it the first time, it was Dahntay Jones. When the opponent is using Dahntay Jones as its primary offensive option, it's safe to say ownage has been achieved.

Plenty of Lakers deserve shiny gold stars tonight, none more so than Ron Artest. His defense suffocated yet another elite wing scorer in Danny Granger. With Ron's foot up his ass all night, Granger used 16 possessions to score only nine points. Even if he scored 30 the Pacers probably couldn't have won this game, but Ron's lockdown virtuosity took away Indiana's only hope to compete. If this keeps up, he could make a strong second-half charge for Defensive Player of the Year.

With Granger MIA the Pacers had to find scoring elsewhere, and of course they didn't because they're horrible. In the first quarter they made 5 of 10 three-point shots to stay in the game. That obviously wasn't going to keep up, and once the Lakers decided to close out on shooters, the blowout unfolded. Led by Ron's five steals, L.A. forced Indy into turning the ball over on 18% of their possessions. All those cough-ups generated both fast breaks of the usual sort and three-point looks off the secondary break. As a team the Lakers had a strong shooting night from all over the floor, making 55% of their twos, 44% of their threes and 92% of their free throws.

Kobe Bryant is still laboring from the field, making only five of 14 field-goal attempts on the night. He nonetheless managed to score with efficiency by getting to the line a ton and making 14 of 15 freebies. This wasn't a fluke, by the way: Indiana fouls more than almost any team in the league. Honestly, with their crappiness now fresh in my memory, I have no idea how they've won 20 games. Their roster isn't noticeably better than Minnesota's or New Jersey's.

Aside from Ron's greatness, this night was about Fun With the Taco Unit. Adam Morrison entered the game early in the second quarter, a sure sign that Phil Jackson felt assured of a big win. AMMO dropped in a couple buckets within a three-minute span, which he interpreted as a green light to hoist it up for the rest of the game. More power to him, I say. How many more chances is he going to get in a Laker uniform?

DJ Mbenga had his moments, pouring in six points. Shannon Brown had a great stretch in the third period as the Lakers were running up the score. Jordan Farmar scored 19 on 10 shots and, far more important, came up with a critical, Taco-saving steal with less than a minute to play to hold Indy under 100.

It was an evening when pretty much everything went right. The only sad thing is, the Lakers don't get to play the Pacers again until next season. They should really visit more often.

 

Poss.

TO%

FTA/
FGA

FT%

3FGA/FGA

2PT%

3PT%

EFG

TS%

OReb Rate

DReb Rate

PPP

Ind.

99

18

0.17

67

0.20

49

41

51

53

26

74

1.00

L.A.

99

13

0.28

92

0.26

55

44

57

63

26

74

1.23


Follow Dex on Twitter here.

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