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In two games during the Lakers' recent four-game losing streak, Artest took -- and missed -- the last shot in L.A.'s most important possessions of the night. The one time during the streak he came through late against Indiana, he made the 3 he took with less than three minutes left, but it was improvised out of the offense, a difficult step-back shot that makes a team feel more lucky than good when it sees it go down. In the fourth loss in Houston on Wednesday, the 31-year-old defensive specialist played just 17 minutes and did not get in off the bench during the fourth quarter as the Rockets' offense racked up 33 points on the way to the win.
|Defensive specialist Ron Artest has seen his role diminished in key moments this season.|