Ron Artest may have found the connection in the music biz to take his rap career to a new level. While post-game interviews typically take place at each player's locker, Artest broke the routine on Friday night in L.A. because he had been talking with "American Idol" judge Randy Jackson in the hall. Artest gave a copy of his "My World" album to Jackson, who looked equally elated to be speaking - for the first time - to Artest. I asked Artest if he was arranging for a surprise appearance on the show, he said, "I'd do it for fun, but (Jackson) is big in music, you know, so who better to give my album to?"
And will fellow judge Simon Cowell be getting a copy?
"Nah, Simon's mean," he said.
- Sam Amick
Well, Kings coach Eric Musselman always said it takes 50 games to know your team, a line he learned from one of his mentors, Chuck Daly. But maybe with this group, it takes 58 games.
While everything could change with a bad homestand, the Kings seem to finally have an identity. They're playing selflessly on offense and, as commentator Jerry Reynolds pointed out to me, looking selfless on defense, too. Rotations are coming with the expectation that the next man in line will do his part, and it doesn't hurt that the team's shooters are stroking it pretty well, too.
But as for the personality of the team, comparing the season's first five games and the recent stretch is a window into the soul-searching process. While the Kings started 3-2, defense was the heavily-favored focal point and the offense only dished out 20-plus assists once. In the last seven games, the Kings have hit the 20-plus mark every time out and set a season-high with 29 in Friday's win at the Lakers. Defensively, they're not producing as many steals but are - much like the best Kings teams of old - playing well enough in the right situations to finish the job.
It's as if the players looked around one recent day, realized this season was coming very close to finishing as a total bore, then decided to take the collective route to mending matters. Let's see if it keeps up.
- Sam Amick