Artest scores 19 points without his painted shoes
SACRAMENTO - No more painted shoes for Ron Artest, he's found his way home to Sacramento.
“I didn't have a choice, because on the road with Indiana we wore white,” the Kings' newly acquired forward said after Tuesday's 98-91 win over Denver (25-22).
Artest went 0-2 with a pair shoes he hand-painted black to match his new teammates for his first two games with Sacramento (19-26), both of them road games and both of them losses.
Tuesday he was sporting the same white shoes he'd worn on road games with the Pacers.
Maybe the paint was bad luck.
“Everybody's got to wear the same shoes,” Artest said. “So when I get my new, non-painted shoes, hopefully it will make a difference.”
But whether it was the shoes or adoring fans he's now found in Sacramento, Artest found a comfort zone against the Nuggets, scoring 19 points to go with seven rebounds and three assists in 38 1/2 minutes of play.
“Down the stretch Ron (Artest) made some good decisions,” said Kings coach Rick Adelman. “The guys were cutting and being active and they got a lot of things. It was a good win; obviously it was a win we really needed.”
Sacramento also got a big lift from Kevin Martin, who came off the bench to score a game-high 25 points.
“(Martin) came in, he was aggressive, and he made shots,” Adelman said. “If we're going to be successful, we're going to need those guys to step
up off the bench, and I think he gave us a lift in the second quarter.”
The Kings didn't come into the game with the lineup they'd expected, as Bonzi Wells was a late addition to the lineup after he'd initially been listed as out with a partial tear of his right groin.
But Brad Miller was a late scratch with a thumb injury, thrusting Shareef Abdur-Rahim into the starting lineup at the last minute.
“We've lost a lot,” Adelman said, “and with Brad (Miller) out, because Shareef (Abdur-Rahim)'s back, they think he's ‘back,' and maybe he really shouldn't be. He's lost so much weight and if you watch him, he's not as explosive.”
Abdur-Rahim suffered a mouth injury and is playing with his jaw wired shut.
Despite all the late changes, Adelman was happy with the way his team executed the game plan against a Denver team willing to run the floor.
“I thought our guys did a good job of following the game plan that we wanted to follow with (Denver),” he said. “We wanted to control the tempo and make them guard us. We had over 20 fast-break points and tonight they only had 12 - that was a big part of it.”
Artest was greeted by a huge ovation when he name was announced as the last of the five Sacramento starters.
Signs for Artest dotted the crowd, perhaps the most telling saying “Hey Ron! S.O.S. Save Our Season!.”
Artest, winner of numerous defensive awards during his 6-year NBA season, finished the game without a steal, though he came close on more than one occasion, once leaping over the fans in the first row chasing after a ball he knocked away from a Denver player.
That move drew a standing ovation, the loudest applause of the night. Artest's 38 minutes and 34 seconds were also impressive, though he said he's yet to get his legs back completely.
“They're not where I want them to be, but if this is all I got in a game, then I'm going to go out and give it 100 percent,” he said.
The Kings have two days off before traveling to play Utah in the first of a home-and-home weekend series with the Jazz. Artest's second game at Arco will be Sunday against the Jazz.
Appeal-Democrat reporter Nathan D. Collier may be reached at 749-4714. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.