Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest was suspended one game without pay today for a foul committed against Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea late in Game 2 last night. With 24.4 second left in the Mavericks 93-81 win last night, Artest essentially clotheslined Barea as the pint-sized guard handled the ball in the backcourt. Artest was immediately ejected (he had picked up a cheap technical earlier in the game).
The foul was ruled to be a Flagrant Foul 2, and Artest will not be available for Friday night’s game in Dallas with the Lakers trailing 2-0 in the series.
Lakers coach Phil Jackson said after the game that he expected Artest to be suspended by the NBA: “It was uncalled for. There’s a good chance he’ll be suspended. I hope not.”
Matt Barnes and Lamar Odom are the options to start for the Lakers who have looked lost for long stretches in both of the first two games of this series.
Artest has averaged just 6.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.5 steals per game in the opening two games against the Mavericks. He has also hit just 1-of-7 shots from 3-point range, and 5-of-18 shots from the field. Clearly he’s had a tough series and that frustration leaked out when he whacked Barea. Maybe his suspension will wake the Lakers up.