The LA Times’ Jason Reid was on the scene for the Rockets’ latest crushing disappointment (ie. Yao-owch) and strongly hints the Kings’ Ron Artest is driving his coach to drink distraction.

The Clippers continued to pursue a trade for an impact player, discussing a potential deal for Ron Artest of the Sacramento Kings, a high-ranking Clippers source said after the game.

Apparently, Artest, whom the Clippers tried to acquire last season from the Indiana Pacers, is eager to leave the Kings, and the Clippers want to send Corey Maggette to Sacramento for the versatile player. A Clippers official spoke with the Kings on Friday, and talks are expected to continue today.

It wouldn’t be a Peter Vescey column without the evisceration of someone who has a better TV gig than Poison Pete. In today’s Post, Vescey takes exception to TNT’s John Thompson throwing softballs to Allen Iverson.

Instead of being treated as a hostile witness who provoked and redirected the course of two franchises, Iverson was royally indulged. Harmonizing impeccably with TNT’s program and the spirit of the season, Thompson, bells on bop tails ring, was laughing all the way.

I smell an hospitable takeover of Abscess Rashard.