Charley Rosen: Kings Still Soft

Ron Artest outdueled Kobe Bryant, and the Kings beat the Lakers. Bill Walton's raves about the Kings from yesterday seem to be well-founded.

But Charley Rosen isn't buying the theory the Kings will go deep in the playoffs:

In truth, the Kings are indeed slightly more physical than they have been in recent seasons. But perhaps not as rough-and-tough as they'll need to be to advance past the first round come the playoffs. They still depend on outside shooting, on Miller's passing from the high-post, and on getting out and running.

Did Artest succeed in his pre-game boast? Absolutely. Under the constant pressure of Artest's stubborn defense, Bryant was never able to create and sustain any kind of offensive rhythm.

Trouble is, if Artest gives the Kings a bona fide stopper, there's only one of him. The fact that none of his teammates can play a lick of defense will ultimately abbreviate the Kings' season.