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All is well with Lakers forward Ron Artest

He trades apologies with Coach Phil Jackson before Game 3.

May 08, 2010|By Mike Bresnahan

Reporting from Salt Lake City -- First, there was an apology, person to person. Then there was one acted out on the court.

Ron Artest addressed his Twitter rant with Lakers Coach Phil Jackson on Friday afternoon and followed it up a day later with 20 points in the Lakers' 111-110 victory Saturday over the Utah Jazz.

Artest apologized, and so did Jackson, saying he was "sympathetic" to Artest's feelings when they talked about the issue, which began Thursday morning when Artest was late for practice after neglecting to inform Lakers officials he was at a funeral for a music executive.

Jackson acknowledged Saturday he had been "a little animated" at practice that day after Artest arrived late.

"I think I kind of stirred the mix, so to speak," Jackson said. "I kind of understood [now] where he might have some difficulty on that day. He had a funeral he attended early in the morning which kind of disrupted our practice. I was a little bit hard on him about that."

Artest was fined an undisclosed amount for being late to practice and took to the Internet several hours later with numerous messages criticizing Jackson for telling the media over a week ago that Artest needed to stop taking so many three-point attempts.

"I think it was just kind of lashing out a little bit," Jackson said.

Artest declined to comment about the issue Saturday, but he made seven of 13 shots in Game 3, four of seven from three-point range.

Kobe Bryant, however, weighed in on the topic.

"We all find it kind of funny," he said. "It's not a big deal at all. Not even a whisper. It's entertaining."

Jackson smiled when asked about Artest.

"We hold him dear to our hearts," he said.

Silent night

Lakers center Andrew Bynum didn't do much in Game 3, though it had little to do with his health.

He faced a steady double-team and managed to take only one shot, a missed dunk attempt with 9:10 left in the third quarter. That was all, Jackson choosing to go with a quicker lineup in the second half to match the Jazz's smaller lineup.

Bynum went scoreless with four rebounds in 20 minutes.

Jackson was bullish on him before the game.

"We're very optimistic about his therapy in the last two days, three days between [games]," Jackson said. "He looks very capable of playing ... doesn't seem to have any discomfort right now."

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

twitter.com/Mike_Bresnahan

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