Artest Going Streaking … On Defense

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Phil Jackson needed just one word to describe Ron Artest’s effort against Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets after L.A.’s 95-89 win on Sunday: “remarkable.”

High praise from Caesar, indeed.

In our postgame wrap of the Lakers win, we detailed Artest’s performance:

Sparking that defense was the terrific individual effort from Ron Artest, who was draped so close to Carmelo Anthony all night that ‘Melo may as well have worn cologne named “Ron Ron.” Anthony made only 7-of-19 field goal attempts, turned the ball over eight times and fouled out while trying to create space from Artest late in the fourth quarter. Artest tied a season high with six steals, and even went off for 17 points himself (’Melo had 21) thanks in part to four 3-pointers, plus four boards and four assists.

Not bad.

“It was just about playing decent and a lot of effort,” explained Artest. “(Anthony) is definitely one of the better players in the NBA, but when I am hungry I don’t really worry about the offensive players even if they have a good game. I know that if I am doing my job, we should be OK.”

Artest, citing improved conditioning due to his trimming more than 10 pounds (and counting) off his frame, also pointed out that he’s held the last six individual offensive players he’s faced since the All-Star break below their respective averages, which is a constant goal for the Queens, New York, native.

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