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Category: Metta World Peace

Metta World Peace shouldn't start

Metta World Peace

His top-of-the-key three-pointer sealed a crucial victory. His energy and physical play provided a needed spark. His penchant for finding open teammates ensured a solidly-run offense.

Metta World Peace's play in the Lakers' 96-91 victory Wednesday against the Clippers reflected everything needed in a starter. So much that Lakers Coach Mike Brown openly entertained the idea that World Peace could return to the starting lineup after spending all of this season as the team's sixth man. But World Peace demonstrated in a 100-89 loss Saturday to the Milwaukee Bucks why that wouldn't help the Lakers.

Just when World Peace believed he had turned a corner in his focus and conditioning, he scored little (four points), shot ill-advised three-pointers (one for five) and provided the worst plus-minus rating. In other words, the same unreliable output he's delivered most of the season.

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Metta World Peace autographs as Ron Artest, cites penmanship woes


It turns out Metta World Peace remains reluctant to spread his message.

His personal assistant arrived at the Lakers' facility after a recent practice to pick up a pair of signed basketballs for an unspecified charity. Only problem: World Peace had scribbled his former name, Ron Artest, on both balls and refused to re-sign it.

"I don't like the signature yet," World Peace later explained. "It's not how I want it yet. I'm trying to figure out how to sign it."

He's currently kicking around different ideas, but to no avail. World Peace remains unsure if he should sign his name as just Metta, World Peace or both. He sounded unsure of the idea when a reporter suggested he tag his autograph with a peace sign. World Peace says he needs more practice writing out the name to perfect his penmanship.

But for once, World Peace says he's focusing on more important things.

"I haven't signed a lot of autographs this year, World Peace said. "We've been so busy with games, I haven't had time to get out. Next year I'll probably sign Metta."

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Metta World Peace bored with defense

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Metta World Peace's success points to post-up work

-- Mark Medina

Email the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Metta World Peace bored with defense

It turns out Metta World Peace's career-low scoring numbers have nothing to do with his poor shooting stroke. It turns out World Peace's declining defense has nothing to do with his age (32) and decreasing lateral quickness. It turns out World Peace's conditioning has nothing to do with arriving to training camp out of shape.

It has to do with one thing and one thing only.

"I got bored with defense because it was so easy for me to stop people over the years," World Peace said after Thursday's practice. "I just got bored with it."

That is, until the Lakers' 96-91 victory Wednesday over the Clippers where he played a large part in securing the win. World Peace made late-game plays, including a three-pointer that gave the Lakers an 87-82 lead, a feed that set up an Andrew Bynum dunk and a stuff on Chris Paul in the lane.

If the explanation sounds absurd, well it is. But the most unlikeliest of sources agrees with World Peace's logic.

"It's about finding an edge," Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said. "You have to find an edge. It's not something that's far fetched. He's a great defensive player. Sometimes it comes too easy. Offensively for me, things are really easy sometimes. The game feels boring. You have to find an edge. You have to find something that is going to push you."

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Five things to watch in Lakers-Clippers game

Kobe Bryant

Some things to keep an eye on when the Lakers (10-8) host the Clippers (9-5) Wednesday at Staples Center:

1. There will be chippiness. Whether the Lakers and Clippers want to acknowledge a rivalry or not, it's indisputable that the animosity heightens when these two teams meet. So expect there to be plenty of hard fouls, technicals, elbows and animosity thrown all around. The key for the Lakers involves channeling that properly. If they get too consumed with it, it could result in too many Clipper free-throws and overall distract their focus. If they play physical for the sake of sharpening their defense and energy, that approach will give the Lakers an edge.

2. The Lakers meet challenges at point guard regardless of Chris Paul. The Times' Broderick Turner mentions it's likely Paul will play against the Lakers after missing the last five games because of a strained left hamstring. But it's not guaranteed. Surely Paul's presence even in limited form will give the Lakers fits. They frankly don't have the speed to keep up with him. With Steve Blake still sidelined because of a fracture of the cartilage connecting his rib and sternum, the Lakers don't have the depth, either. But the Lakers' problems at matching up with the Clippers at point guard hardly confines to Paul.

Clippers guard Mo Williams has averaged 25.66 points per game in the last three coming off the bench in Paul's absence, while Clippers guard Chauncey Billups nailed a game-winner against Dallas. While Derek Fisher matched Billups with a game winner against Dallas, rookie guard Darius Morris can hardly match Williams' play. Morris remains unpredictable with his excessive dribbling and decision-making. He has potential, but it's hardly a good thing at this point that he's playing more minutes during Blake's absence.

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Metta World Peace's success points to post-up work

Amid a three-game losing streak, offensive inconsistency and a compacted schedule, there was one thing out of the Lakers' 98-96 loss Sunday to the Indiana Pacers that shed a glimmer of hope.

That was the prospect of World Peace.

After a 10-game double-digit drought, the player formerly known as Ron Artest, scored 11 points on five of nine shooting, made his only three-point attempt and created turnovers. 

"I'm coming back to life, finally," he said.

As with anything regarding Metta World Peace, it's presumptuous to make any conclusions on how he'll follow up on that. But there's one predictable variable that will heighten his success.

The Lakers will maximize World Peace's abilities as a bench reserve only if they mostly utilize him in the post. In all five of his double-digit performances this season, the bulk of his offense came in that area. According to Synergy Sports Technology, World Peace is the 11th-most efficient scorer in post-ups, going 15 for 33 from the field (45.5%). That's a stark difference between, say, his work in isolation sets (21.1%) or from three-point range (14.7%)

"Being a problem in the post isn't really much new," World Peace said. "I haven't had great stats. But when Kobe [Bryant] is averaging 30 [points], Pau [Gasol] and Andrew [Bynum] are other good players. On top of that, with not getting a lot of time, you aren't going to see that much. When I get out there, you will see glimpses."

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Metta World Peace sheds doubt on Roy Hibbert's broken nose

Lakers1_300Throughout the game Sunday evening at Staples Center, Pacers center Roy Hibbert needed cotton to absorb the bleeding from a broken nose.

He had trouble breathing as he ran up and down the floor. And during Indiana's 98-96 victory over the Lakers, Hibbert managed to score eight of his 18 points in the fourth quarter.

And to think, after Kobe Bryant's inadvertent elbow to his nose prompted Hibbert to leave the game with 6:46 left in the first quarter, there was no indication he could return.

But he did return in the second quarter, after Pacers trainers stuffed cotton up his nose to mitigate the damage. 

Don't count Lakers forward Metta World Peace among those who feel impressed. 

"I don't know if it's broken," he said. "I think that's just how he looks. I think he naturally looks like that."

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Five things to take away from Lakers' 98-96 loss to Indiana Pacers

Mike Brown looking for 'punch off the bench'

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Pacers center Greg Hibbert looks to pass from the double-team defense of Lakers guard Derek Fisher and center Andrew Bynum on Sunday evening at Staples Center. Credit: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times

Five things to take away from Lakers' 98-96 loss to Indiana Pacers

Lakers3_600
1. The Lakers suffered late-game miscues in their 98-96 loss Sunday to the Indiana Pacers. There's lot of plays that the Lakers could've executed better at the end of the game. Matt Barnes' missed three-pointer could've given the Lakers a definitive lead in the final minute. Pacers center Roy Hibbert grabbed a late-game rebound and made a shot over Andrew Bynum. Derek Fisher air-balled a floater and Bynum let the loose ball slip through his hands. Lakers Coach Mike Brown didn't call a timeout on that sequence. Kobe Bryant missed a long three-pointer that would've tied the score with 2.4 seconds left.

2. Pau Gasol is playing too much of a facilitator. Credit Gasol's versatility and ability to adapt. With Bynum an increased role in the post, Gasol has relied on his his play-making abilities and mid-range jumper to remain relevant. The former quality proved to be magnificant as Gasol dropped 10 assists, and could've had 11 if his Bynum converted off his one-timed behind-the-head pass. But his eight points on four for 12 shooting left a lot to be desired because most of them came off mid-range jumpers. It appears Gasol's losing his aggressiveness to score, while relying too heavily on his ability to facilitate. 

3. Where's the Lakers' perimeter defense? This game wouldn't be close if the Lakers defended the perimeter. The Pacers stayed in contention, thanks to a 10-of-18 mark from three-point range. That included Indiana scoring 35 points in the second quarter and going on an 18-12 run after most of the starters entered the lineup at the 6:13 mark. While the Lakers' defensive communication and help looked sharp in the paint, they remained inconsistent on closing out. 

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Lakers' offense features little chemistry

With his arms pointing out toward the block, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant hoped Pau Gasol would cut across the lane to receive an entry pass. Instead, Gasol missed the body language, Bryant's pass went into traffic and the Lakers turned the ball over.

With his eyes darting toward the baseline, Lakers center Andrew Bynum shouted to Jason Kapono about moving into a passing lane on the perimeter so he could kick out of a double team. Nothing happened, so Bynum settled for a poor left hook that hit off the rim.

And with Bynum established on the low block, Lakers guard Darius Morris made perfect eye contact with him. But Morris' entry pass went directly toward Bynum's ankles instead of his hands.

These plays may appear isolated but they represent a much more complete picture of the Lakers' fragmented offense in their 102-94 loss Saturday to the Clippers, more than even Bryant's 42 points on 14-for-28 shooting. Regardless of whether Bryant fired good looks like he did in the second half or remained trigger happy in the first half, a constant remained. Despite the Lakers' Big Three in Bryant, Gasol (14) and Bynum (12) each cracking double figures, the offense hardly looked in sync. 

The Lakers mostly blamed the loss on the 50-42 rebounding disparity, particularly the 17-11 deficit on the offensive glass. But that effort is an anomaly compared to the rest of the season and arguably can be attributed at least partly to the Lakers playing five of their league-high 14 games in the past week. The Lakers' chemistry on offense, however, has remained flimsy and unpredictable all season. 

"It's moving in the right direction, but we have a ways to go," Lakers Coach Mike Brown said. "We don't have a great feel of what we want all the time when it comes to different options. Sometimes when we forget for a second or third or fourth option then we have a tendency to look for someone to help us out. the guy who can always help us out is Kobe. Thats the thing we have to make sure we keep trying to guard against."

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Metta World Peace has Achilles' tendon, back injuries

In a little more than a month, Lakers forward Metta World Peace went from a starter, to the team's sixth man to someone whose playing time remains in flux.

But Lakers Coach Mike Brown said World Peace's non-appearance in the Lakers' 97-92 victory Friday over the Cleveland Cavaliers had nothing to do with performance. It had more to do with a sore Achilles' tendon and back that Brown said World Peace talked to him about during the team's morning shoot-around. 

"He was available if I needed him," Brown said. "But I felt especially with the season the way it is, this may happen from time to time. I'll sit a guy just to make sure he gets his body right."

World Peace acknowledged that he had a "little, slight problem," but then reiterated "it's not really an issue."  In eight different variations, World Peace emphasized that the team won so any questions pertaining to his reduced playing time and injury hardly bears significance.

Still, it's hard not to notice how World Peace's production from December to January dipped in points per game (9.2, 3.6) and shooting percentage (40.9%, 27.8%)

"It's not even an issue," World Peace insisted. "The main thing tonight is we won." 

RELATED:

Metta World Peace's one-handed dunk defies the odds

Metta World Peace struggles with role coming off the bench

Five things to take from Lakers' 97-92 win over the Cavaliers

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Kobe Bryant maintains high scoring rate

Among the highlights of my breakdown on the Lakers' 97-90 victory Friday over the Golden State Warriors:

  • The Lakers played a horrific first half played out like another version of the Hangover. They shot 36% from the field, committed 12 turnovers and appeared fatigued from a back-to-back the previous night at Portland. Fortunately for the Lakers, the energy picked up in the third quarter and sparked more offense. 
  • We've seen Kobe Bryant score a lot of points despite the heavy injuries. But it still proves an amazing sight to see. His 39 points on 13 of 28 shooting punctuated his third consecutive game he scored at least 30. In this ongoing debate regarding his shots, it always matters where Bryant takes them. Against Golden State, they mostly came from baseline jumpers and from the mid-to-high post, both areas that play to Bryant's strength. In the locker room, Bryant wore what looked like a giant oven mitt to protect his right wrist. 
  • The pecking order between Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum have changed. Bryant told me after the game he considers Bynum as the No. 2 option, but that he's going to have to fight through double teams and that Gasol has to maintain aggressiveness. Bynum's nine points on three of nine shooting illustrates that struggle, but he's still giving a good effort with 16 rebounds. Meanwhile, Gasol establishing a good fine line between remaining fine with Bynum's quest for scoring, while ensuring he still capitalizes on his mid-range jumpers.        
  • Matt Barnes played his best game as a Laker, scoring 16 points on seven of nine shooting. He also defended Monta Ellis as well as the circumstances allowed, allowing 18 points on eight of 20 shooting. Barnes is a fiery player and overplays his aggressiveness at times. But he remained professional throughout Devin Ebanks' starts and also lended support. It's good he maintained that perspective because it remains clear Barnes is keeping this spot. Kudos for Metta World Peace for remaining diplomatic about playing only 10 minutes partly because of Barnes' strong play.                                                                                                                                 

RELATED:

Five things to take away from Lakers' 97-90 win over Golden State

Mike Brown downplays Kobe Bryant's wrist injections

Lakers vs. Warriors: Live updates from the game

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

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