Ron Artest has been suspended for Game 3 of the Los Angeles Lakers' NBA Playoffs series against the Dallas Mavericks. Artest struck Mavericks guard J.J. Barea in the face with just seconds left in the Lakers' Game 2 loss Wednesday; Artest was immediately tossed, and has since been assessed a Flagrant Two foul and the one-game suspension.
The Lakers are down 0-2 and face Games 3 and 4 in Dallas, where the Mavericks have won all three of their games in the playoffs. L.A. was trailing by an unsurmountable margin with Barea bringing the ball up the court when Artest hit the diminituive guard with a clothesline across the neck and face. No Mavericks, including Shawn Marion, who was very close to the play, responded or made a scene.
Lakers coach Phil Jackson could start Lamar Odom or Matt Barnes in Artest's place. Ron-Ron earned a share of the defensive culpability in Dirk Nowitzki's explosion in Game 2; Odom would figure the be the preferred defender on the 7-footer.
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