Artest suspended for Game 3 against Dallas

As expected, Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest was suspended for Friday’s Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals after he was ejected for clotheslining Dallas guard J.J. Barea in the final seconds in Game 2.

The official NBA release indicates that Artest was suspended for swinging his arm and striking the face of  Barea. Artest’s contact also has been classified by the NBA as a Flagrant Foul Two.

The incident occurred with 24.4 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of the Mavericks’ 93-81 victory over the Lakers at Staples Center Wednesday night.

The visual evidencethat the punishment was just for Artest, who was awarded the league’s citizenship award last week.

And his absence will rob the Lakers of their best on-the-ball defender in a crucial Game 3 in Dallas. The two-time defending champion Lakers are down 2-0 in the best-of-seven series.

Lamar Odom will likely take his position in the Lakers’ starting lineup.

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