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IC Cold Links: Ron Artest's Game Winner May Give Him And The Lakers What They Need To Win A Championship

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I just had a feeling.

As Game 5 between the Lakers and Suns was about to tip last night, I posted this note on Facebook: "About time for Ronnie to impact things for the Lakers. Will it be good or bad?"

Turns out the answer was both. For some reason, I still love Ronnie (especially on another team), and through all of the years of he always attracts attention as the spotlight brightens and the pressure builds in the playoffs. Whether it be good, bad, hilarious or sad, something usually happens that has people approaching me the next day asking if I saw what Artest did last night.

We've seen Ronnie crack as the pressure mounts in the playoffs. Plays like the freakish flagrant foul against Rip Hamilton in the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals or last year, going nose-to-nose with Kobe Bryant. Of course, these were plays when Ronnie was still trying to be THE man to lead a team, a role that's never fit him.

Now with a support system around him like he's never had before and an obvious role as a support player among a talented Lakers team, Ronnie's put-back game winner made him a hero for the night in So Cal. This after driving the Staples Center crowd crazy with a couple of ill-advised threes late in the game. (Ooo, Ill-advised Three would be a perfect name for Tru Warier's next group).

Cleaning up Kobe's miss was classic Artest. A play that was pure hustle and fight, like going after the last scrap of food on the table. Ronnie at his best. That one second of glory just might be enough to feed whatever it is inside Ronnie that craves attention and keep him in check for the Lakers to win a championship.

Of course, first they have to beat the Suns which, after last night we know, won't be easy.

After the jump, a few links of interest including a look at the Pacers' shooting guard situation, Kelvin Sampson coaching and Z-Bo hanging around more trouble. 

PACERS: Roster report: Shooting guard
Bruno runs through all of the confounding questions about Brandon Rush that have perplexed every coach Rush has ever had while trying to assess the Pacers' shooting guard situation.

Report: Cavaliers interested in Kelvin Sampson
The Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly have some serious interest in giving the IU nuclear bomb that is Kelvin Sampson a shot at their head coaching job. You want to ratchet up a rivalry between the Cavs and Pacers that would do it. Tom Crean might even be in the front row leading the boos.

NBA's Zach Randolph denies knowing of friend's alleged drug role
Zach Randolph knows nothing about his resources supporting any drug activity.

Zach Randolph Named in Strip Club Brawl to Continue a Very Bad 24 Hours
Eric Freeman shares more problems for Z-Bo. Now he's mentioned in a L.A. strip club fracas.

Purchase by Melvin Simon's Widow, Bren
Mel Simon's widow Bren is tossing around millions in some real estate deals out in La La land.