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Stunned Lakers lose Artest for 1 game

DALLAS — The NBA suspended Lakers forward Ron Artest for tonight's Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinal series against the Mavericks for hitting Dallas guard J.J. Barea in the face with a forearm.

Los Angeles, down 0-2 after losing 93-81 late Wednesday, will be playing a pivotal game without its starting small forward.

"No reaction," Artest said Thursday before boarding a team flight to Dallas. "I'm just ready to move forward and play basketball."

Barea was dribbling around Los Angeles' Lamar Odom with 24 seconds left in a game that had already been decided when Artest moved in and swung a forearm at the guard's head. Artest, who recently received the league's citizenship award, was ejected. The league said he also would be assessed a flagrant foul.

"Not surprised," coach Phil Jackson said.

Artest's defensive presence and tenacity make him a big part of the Lakers' scheme. He has started all 90 games in the regular season and postseason, averaging 6.5 points in this series.

Odom or Matt Barnes likely will start in his place.

Dirk Nowitzki scored 24 and Shawn Marion added 14 as the Mavs put the Lakers in a hole heading to Dallas.

While three teams in NBA history have won a seven-game series after losing the first two at home, no team has rallied from an 0-3 deficit.

"Desperate, that's a strong word," Lakers star Kobe Bryant said. "I think when you play desperate, you don't play your best. What we need to do is relax, focus on what we're doing wrong and the mistakes that we're making."

After the game, the Lakers' Andrew Bynum said "all 13 of our guys have trust issues right now," further describing those problems as "deeply rooted."

Hawks emboldened

ATLANTA — Hawks coach Larry Drew likes the look of these playoffs, and his team.

"This thing is wide open," he said, hinting at the ousted Spurs and the in-trouble Lakers.

The Hawks have already knocked out the Magic and they grabbed a victory in Game 1 against the Bulls, a 62-win juggernaut in the regular season.

Even coming off a series-tying loss, the Hawks are exuding confidence as they return home for Game 3 tonight.

"We feel good about where we're at," said Jamal Crawford, the super sub. "We feel like we took their best punch."

Celtics-Heat: Center Shaquille O'Neal (right calf) is expected to play for the Celtics in the playoffs for the first time in Game 3 against the Heat on Saturday.

Thunder-Grizzlies: Starting power forward Serge Ibaka did not participate in the Thunder's practice because of a sprained left ankle and is listed as probable for Game 3 on Saturday.

Stunned Lakers lose Artest for 1 game 05/05/11 [Last modified: Thursday, May 5, 2011 8:52pm]
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