OKC’s win important on many levels

There are a few things to take from this game:

— Derek Fisher is having a tough time guarding Russell Westbrook. Don’t be surprised if we see more Shannon Brown in the next few games (but it was Jordan Farmar who was in the game at the end). Phil Jackson trusts Fisher, but he just can’t keep athletic guards in front of him anymore. Westbrook had 27 points last night.

— The win gives the Thunder confidence. They know now that they can beat the Lakers in a playoff situation. Even if they don’t come back to win the series, this victory is big for this young team.

— Through three games, Ron Artest is averaging 8-3-2 and is shooting 32% from the field (16% from 3PT). Trevor Ariza averaged 11-4-2 and 50% shooting (48% from 3PT) in last year’s playoff run. If Artest were shutting Durant down it would be one thing, but KD posted 29-19-4 last night. He only shot 33% from the field, but he went 12 of 13 from the free throw line.

— After 17 blocks in Game 2, OKC had just three blocks in Game 3. I’m not sure what this means, but I thought I’d mention it anyway.

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Did the Lakers make a mistake signing Artest instead of Ariza?

Even Ron Artest himself says (via Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times) that Ariza was a better fit…and a better player.

“He’s a better player than me,” Artest said Tuesday.

But Ron-Ron, nobody ever said he was better, we just said he was a better fit.

“He’s a better player,” Artest repeated emphatically. “He’s won a ring, I haven’t. I can’t even compare to him. He’s a better player.”

Artest also agrees, incidentally, with the part about Ariza being a better fit.

“He probably is,” Artest said. “He’s a role player, a great role player. I haven’t been a role player. Many times I’ve had to carry the load, this is a different look for me.”

I don’t know about you, but I sense a little sarcasm there. Later, Artest talked about how “unbelievable” his defense has been:

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