As Game 2 got out of reach late, with the Mavericks leading the Lakers by double digits with under a minute remaining, Phil Jackson opted to leave Ron Artest on the court. It wasn’t a great decision, as the volatile Artest predictably found the smallest guy on the court and clotheslined him in the face.
Artest was ejected and could face a suspension for Game 3. While Lakers fans might just as soon see Artest on the bench after limited contributions in the first two games of the series, Lakers depth issues would be further exacerbated. Phil Jackson said after seeing video of the play in his coach’s office that he would not be surprised if Artest is suspended, but he hopes that he can avoid it.
Artest is just 5-18 in the series and 1-7 from three-point range. He lobbied for the opportunity to guard Dirk Nowitzki in Game 2 but was unable to slow him down. Barea had spurred a second-half run to stretch the Dallas lead and had just returned to the court after the Mavericks pulled their starters with the game in hand in the closing seconds.