“Me and Paul, we’ve had tons of battles…” – Ron Artest
These two will square off once again on Thursday. Indeed, they have had a couple of run-ins with each other in the past but none of which took place on the big stage. It will be interesting to watch Ron Ron and The Truth go at it for 6 – 7 straight games.
Generally speaking, Artest has never really bothered Pierce in the past, but there have been games in which Artest was successful in shutting down Pierce. Here are some of Pierce’s bad games in the past when playing against Ron Ron:
3/19/03 – 14 points, 0.286
3/21/03 – 14 points, 0.278
3/29/03 – 16 points, 0.238
3/23/04 – 9 points, 0.235
11/5/04 – 15 points, 0.357
12/6/07 – 16 points, 0.333
Granted this is an extremely small sample size and there is a myriad of external factors that could have affected Pierce’s poor performances. But these stats are still indicative of Artest’s ability to be a disruptive force on defense.
With everyone is going crazy about Garnett’s impact on defense now that he’s got his knees back and the vast improvements Rondo has undergone, it almost seems as if Pierce is being over-looked – the dude is still the heart and soul of the Boston team. He’s going to be the guy the Celtics turn to to silence the crowd or finish up a quarter with momentum. If Artest can take that away, his buddy Kobe’s going to get his fifth ring.
Both of these guys are playing terrific basketball right now. Pierce pretty much made Carter his bitch in the Orlando series and Artest seems to have finally found his niche with this Lakers team.
So who wins this match-up? You have the biggest headcase in the league (now that Starbury’s gone) whose disciplined, focused defense curiously contrasts with his off-court behaviour and the fearless shooting guard equipped with a limitless offensive repertoire. One thing is for certain, it will be a bloodbath.