I think there are a couple of definining moments in this 2010 NBA playoffs that none of us will truly forget in a long time. There was the Rondo switcheroo on LeBron James, there was the formation of Kobe's new go to move (the multiple head fakes, not to actually fake you, but to get his balance and get his shot off move) against the Suns, the LeBron YUUUUULE on James Johnson, the Russell Westbrook YUUUUULE on Lamar Odom, the the Kevin Garnett forearm chops on Dwight Howard, the multiple fake deaths of Wince Carter and Fall Pierce, and the Slovenian Cage Match with Goran Dragic and Sasha Vujacic.
However, there hasn't been anything as sentimental, egregious, outstanding, and hilarious as Game 5 and 6 for Ron Artest as he proved that he is the single biggest enigma in the NBA. The things that he is capable of doing and not doing
Ron Artest is the most important player in the 2010 NBA playoffs, and its not even close.
You might be saying to yourself, "Ed's nuts, clearly Kobe and Rondo are the two most important players." Truthfully, you may be right. However, the Lakers frontline will finally have an opponent who's big men are actually worth a damn. Plus, Kobe's output will be matched by the Jesus/Pierce duo. So we hope. Ron Artest's job will be primarily to take Pierce out, and his ability to do so will hinge on the Lakers' success.
From the beginning, Kenny and I have always thought that Ron-Ron was the X-Factor of the Lakers, not because just of his skillset but because he's the one who will not be afraid of KG, Sheed, Perk, and any of the other goons the Celtics will throw at L.A. I know one thing for sure, KG won't be doing any forearm chops to Ron-Ron. No sir.
Anything Ron does from the offense end of the court is a bonus, and when he comes through like he did in Game 6 against Phoenix, its almost a guaranteed victory for the Lakers. Yes Ron, we know you used to shoot 40% from three, we've heard you tell us this 238 times in the last week. As long as Artest plays within himself, and comes up clutch for the Lakers when they need him too, its going to be difficult for Boston to win. Because Boston in their minds have always thought that when the going gets tough, they're going to be able to elbow Gasol in the kidneys and take their soul away just like in 2008.
Can Boston really do that now? I'm not sure. Ron ain't having that. Thus, he without a shadow of a doubt, is the most important player in the 2010 NBA Finals.
P.S. If you missed our live show, you can download our weekly podcast of "Unsportsmanlike Conduct" on the ETSF Radio Network, as we are live Wednesday's at 9pm Eastern at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edthesportsfan!