DALLAS -- The Lakers will again be at full strength for Sunday afternoon's Game 4 with the return of starting small forward Ron Artest from a one-game suspension.
Not that having Artest on the floor has been a positive for L.A. He's been awful, averaging 6.5 points on 27.8 percent shooting in the first two games. What's that, rebounds is his game, you say? He's averaged 4.5 in the series. Defense? Well, OK, he's got three steals and four blocked shots.
Still, Artest is always capable of hitting a key 3-pointer in the corner or picking off a pass at just the right time. Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, who coached Artest in Indiana and during the "Malice in the Palace" debacle, expects Artest to bring it this afternoon.
"He's always played well after being suspended," Carlisle said. "It's true. It's true. It's not a joke. It's true, he always has, or a disciplinary-type thing. He'll be focused."
Artest was suspended for Game 3 after clotheslining J.J. Barea at the end of Game 2.