By John Clayton
Indianapolis, March 19, 2004
The Sacramento Kings didn't see much of Ron Artest
this season. And coach Rick Adelman was glad for the break.
"It makes a huge difference," Adelman said, referring to Artest's absence.
Artest sat out Friday night's 94-92 loss to the Kings for hitting Portland’s Derek Anderson with a forearm with 8:18 remaining in the third quarter of Indiana’s 80-71 victory Wednesday night. No foul was called on the play. Artest will receive a Flagrant Foul Penalty Two as a result of the play, his first flagrant foul this season.
In the Pacers’ Dec. 7 loss in Sacramento, Artest was ejected after playing only 17 minutes upon receiving a pair of technical fouls, the second of which was later rescinded by the league.
Given the physical nature of the Portland game and Artest’s mostly model behavior this season after leading the league in flagrant fouls in 2002-03, Coach Rick Carlisle said the suspension came as a surprise.
“It was completely unexpected,” Carlisle said. “We were all surprised by the decision. We felt it was incidental and it was not consistent with anything that had happened this year. But, having said that, it is the decision that was made and we have to go out and try and find a way to win.”
Al Harrington started in Artest's place and had 10 points and eight rebounds. The Pacers are now 6-2 in games Artest has missed this season.