Metta World Peace's one-handed dunk defies the odds
In an instant, Lakers forward Metta World Peace made the 18,997 at Staples Center go from anxious to jubilant.
With his outside shooting far from reliable, fans gasped as he remained open with the ball behind the three-point line. But then he drove past Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors and threw down a one-handed dunk, sending teammates and fans alike to their feet. After making perhaps his biggest shot since his three-pointer in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals, the name World Peace has a better ring to it.
But don't expect him to do this frequently.
"That took all my energy," he said after scoring 14 points on five-of-nine shooting, 11 rebounds and four assists in the Lakers' 96-71 victory Tuesday over the Jazz. "I won't be doing that again."
Even if he tried, he probably couldn't. Whether committing a turnover, tripping over himself or firing an ill-advised shot, the player formerly known as Ron Artest often has taken Laker fans on an emotional rollercoaster. Any fast break with him involved usually has ended badly. He memorably couldn't even reach the rim on a fast-break in the Lakers' Game 4 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 Western Conference semifinals.
"I remember a lot of fast breaks," Lakers forward Pau Gasol said, "where he got good looks and it didn't quite finish that way."
But Tuesday's dunk wasn't a first.
In the Lakers' 112-104 victory over the Clippers on March 26, World Peace drove baseline past Chris Kaman for a reverse dunk in the second quarter and also had a one-hander on a fast break. Three days earlier in the Lakers' 139-137 triple-overtime victory over the Phoenix Suns, the Lakers forward stole the ball from Suns guard Steve Nash in the third overtime, drove for a fast break and finished with a one-handed dunk that gave the Lakers a 135-132 lead with 1:53 remaining -- then flexed and kissed his biceps afterward.
Reminding him of those plays hardly convinced World Peace he'd be dunking regularly.
"A few times," World Peace conceded. "Once every now and then. That hurt."
-- Mark Medina
E-mail the Lakers blog at email@example.com.