Sacramento Kings “New Star” suspended
The Sacramento Kings will head into their Thursday night game against the San Antonio Spurs without their new star forward, Ron Artest. Artest, the NBA’s 2003-2004 defensive player of the year, was suspended today by the NBA for one game without pay, according to officials.
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The suspension was the result of Artest making forearm contact to the head of Manu Ginobili, a guard for the San Antonio Spurs, during the first game of the series. The timing couldn’t be worse, with Sacramento heading into game 2 of the series with one loss under their belt already. The Kings lost to San Antonio during Saturday’s game, 88-122, in the first round of the playoffs.
Ron Artest joined up with the Sacramento Kings this season and he is considered an extremely valuable asset to the program and to the team. The numbers Artest puts up every game will be greatly missed in game 2 against San Antonio. There will be many disappointed Sacramento fans who will not get to see Artest play in the upcoming game.
During the 2005 regular season, Artest averaged 16.9 points per game for Sacramento, with a field goal percentage of 40.1%. In addition to his high scoring ability, Artest continues to be one of the leading rebounders for the Kings, averaging 5.2 rebounds per game. Artest set his career goals high for the number of rebounds per game this season with the Kings: 14 rebounds in an earlier season game against Chicago. These are the numbers that Sacramento will be missing during his one-game suspension.
Artest, who is considered by many to be one of the best defensive players that the league has to offer, has brought great talent to Sacramento. He is currently ranked #18 in the NBA for steals, #10 in the NBA for minutes per game played, and #4 in the NBA for steals per 48 minutes. He is extremely talented on both sides of the court, making him a very important player for the Kings.
Despite not having Artest, the Sacramento Kings are far away from just handing the game over to San Antonio. Sacramento will be looking for Shareef Abdur-Rahim to play a strong forward position in Tuesday night’s upcoming game. Abdur-Rahim, who is no stranger to the NBA, has put up a strong 12.3 points per game and an average total of 5.0 rebounds per game this season with the Kings. Shareef Abdur-Rahim has played in the NBA for the past 10 years and he is no stranger to a little pressure.
Sacramento was counting on having Artest for the entire series and some people fear that losing him for one game could be detrimental for the team, since they are already one game down. However, the Kings will attempt to remain in good spirits for game 2 of the series, on Tuesday night, with the tip-off scheduled for 6:30PM local time, San Antonio. The game will be covered on television, nationally by TNT and locally by News 10.
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