Archives For Metta World Peace

From Ramona Shelburne, ESPN Los AngelesDwight Howard had no idea how good he had it as he left Staples Center late Saturday night. ”Day off tomorrow!” he said happily as he left the arena. After a long week of practice, three exhibition games, plus travel to Fresno and Ontario, it wasn’t surprising the Lakers would take Sunday off before starting a week in which they’ll practice every day, play three more exhibition games and travel to Anaheim and Las Vegas. It wasn’t surprising unless of course you spent any time around the team during Mike Brown’s first season as head coach. During the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, the Lakers worked 19 straight days from the time training camp started on December 9, finally taking a day off on December 28 after opening the regular season with back-to-back-to-back games. Things didn’t get much easier from there, as Brown earned the nickname “All day, every day” from his players, many of whom chafed at the coach’s hard-driving style.

From Mark Medina, LA TimesOne key Lakers veteran has high expectations for something that hardly warranted praise in recent seasons. “I feel we can be one of the most dangerous benches in the league,” said Antawn Jamison. Despite the “Bench Mob” and “Killer Bees” nicknames in recent seasons, few would describe that unit in Jamison’s terms. Last season, the Lakers finished last in points (20.5), 28th in efficiency (27.2), 20th in shooting percentage (41.7%) and 28th in point differential (9.4). Coach Mike Brown played musical chairs in the bench rotation in hopes he’d find a sudden surprise. Even with Lamar Odom falling off the deep end in Dallas, his absence created an irreplaceable void as the team’s bench leader. The Lakers have made changes this off-season to address those problems. They added dependable secondary scoring (Jamison) and outside shooting (Jodie Meeks). They kept young talent (Devin Ebanks) and sudden surprises (Jordan Hill).

From Trevor Wong, Lakers.comA year ago, Metta World Peace conceded he was out of shape. His shot was off, he seemed to be a step slow defensively and his entire game was affected. “The lockout hurt me a lot, because last season going into the playoffs I had a nerve issue in my back,” he explained during his exit interview in May. “Once the lockout happened I wasn’t able to address it so all I could do was rest. It took me 2-3 months to get in shape.” During the first half of last season, World Peace shot only 33.5 percent from the field and 23.9 percent from the 3-point line, while averaging just 4.9 points.

From Brian Kamenetzky, ESPN Los AngelesKobe knows exactly how he prioritizes that sort of thing relative to winning. Over the course of now 17 seasons in L.A., the demands on Kobe as a leader have changed. Earlier in his career, Bryant’s role wasn’t as expansive. He didn’t so much lead (not in the way we traditionally think of the word, at least) as get out front in a very competitive environment and drag guys with him through will, stubbornness, and on-floor talent. In time, though, as more has been required Bryant has adjusted. He’s softened the edges, grown less insular, and learned you can’t be that guy all the time and expect people to follow. There is greater depth to his leadership, and never does he demand levels of hard work he’s himself unwilling to meet.

From Marc Stein, ESPN.comImportant update to our weekend report regarding the prospect of a return to the Los Angeles Lakers for veteran guard Derek Fisher. Sources briefed on the discussions told ESPN.com on Monday that Fisher has, indeed, been verified by the league office as eligible to re-sign with the Lakers since July 1, which runs counter to the widely held assumption that Fisher had to wait at least one year from the date that the Lakers dealt him to Houston in March before a reunion with Kobe Bryant would be permissible.

From Mike Trudell, Lakers.comLakers reserve forward Earl Clark strained his left groin and is out indefinitely. Clark, acquired in the Dwight Howard trade with Orlando, has played solid defense in training camp but is not expected to be in the regular bench rotation. In the regular season, the Lakers will most likely have Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol play center for the second unit, with Jordan Hill and Antawn Jamison getting the power forward minutes.

-Ryan Cole

Box Score: Lakers 96, Clippers 91
Offensive Efficiency: Lakers 114.3, Clippers 108.3
True Shooting %: Lakers 65.7%, Clippers 50.5%

The Good:
The good? A win, of course! They snap a three-game losing skid and beat a very good team.

Let’s give Pau Gasol a lot of props. He wanted the ball more and he got it. Pau finished with 23 points and 10 boards. What’s more? He was inside quite a bit in this game. It opened up a whole mess of options in the halfcourt set.

Metta World Peace was VINTAGE Ron Artest tonight. Yeah, you can look at the box score and say, “Well, he only scored three points.” But he did all the little things and was seemingly the main playmaker in this squad today. If you look across the rest of his stat sheet, he stuffed it with 5 boards, 7 assists, 2 steals, and a crushing block on Chris Paul. His timely plays in the fourth quarter (frustrating Blake Griffin in the process) put away the pesky Clippers late (which we’ll talk about later on in this recap). He also played a season-high 38 minutes as he gave hellish D to the Clippers.

The ball movement was much more crisp tonight. What’s more? The Lakers were making three-pointers! They made 8 out of 16, which is pretty phenomenal for the guys who are last in the league behind the arc.

Andrew Goudelock, who seemed pretty forgotten in this team, played the 1 tonight… but who are we kidding? He was in there to fire away and fire away he did. Goudelock poured in 14 points, easily a career-high. Without Goudelock and World Peace, the bench would’ve been completely shut out so it was really awesome to see them contribute.

It was also nice to see the Lakers pack it inside the paint on defense. The Clippers were struggling to get into the paint more and more as the game wore on (in contrast, the Lakers kept attacking… which gave them 32 freethrow attempts compared to the Clips’ 14). The Lakers answered the challenge after a fast 19-9 start by the Clippers. After tying it up at the end of the first quarter, the Lakers kept it close enough throughout the entire game and were able to wrest the game away from the Clips late.

I can’t forget Kobe Bryant. He had an all-around very good performance with 24 points, 7 boards, and 6 dimes. He made sure to get everybody involved in the first three quarters before firing it up in the last stanza. That’s the Kobe that I like. Also, Andrew Bynum (19 points, 4 blocks) had some huge clutch plays on both ends. Was nice to see him come through in the waning moments. Another note: Chris Paul (who went buckwild in their first meeting with 33 points) was held down to 4 points (his hamstring probably still bothered him).

Another good thing about this game? This game was really fun to watch for a change! I’m serious!

The Bad:
The Lakers had 16 turnovers and Kobe Bryant got careless with the ball (7 turnovers by #24), particularly with those zip passes, which were intercepted twice.

It would’ve been nice if the Lakers kept their composure a little bit more. Yes, the refs had a quick trigger today… but the Lakers had 4 technical fouls (2 by Josh McRoberts, who got ejected in the 4th). They gotta settle down a bit. I must say that these battles between the Clips and the Lakers have gotten chippier.

Also, the perimeter wasn’t really guarded well early in the game. The Clippers made six three-pointers in the first half and it was looking like that was going to be the difference in the game again. But the Lakers went ahead and locked that down, while they started making 3-pointers of their own. It was a pleasant surprise but, hey, we’ll take those, right?

And, yes, the Lakers got outrebounded once again, 42-36, by the Clippers (offensive boards in favor of the Clippers, 17-10). We gotta continue to monitor this trend.

The Ugly:
It’s hard to find anything ugly in this game as this was really a well-played game by both teams. If I had to pick something, it’s the continuous referee stoppages to call quick-trigger technicals as I mentioned earlier. It’s an emotional game, refs. Let them play. They’re not robots. You want robots, refs? Go watch some anime.

The Plays Of The Game:
We gotta go back to Metta World Peace’s two gems. A straightaway three that he made was crucial as that put the Lakers up, 87-82, with 3:30 left. I’m sure every Laker fan was screaming, “NO… NO… NO… YES!!!” A minute later, World Peace got an offensive carom off a Fisher missed 3 and assisted Bynum with a dunk that fired up the Staples Center crowd. It was so good to see Metta World Peace fired up and having fun playing basketball again. Maybe he’ll tweet about ostriches mating with pandas later since he had such a good game.

That day of practice really did the Lakers good. And they have another two days off before they face the Bucks at Milwaukee on Saturday. With a bit of momentum going into their mini-road trip, this was the game the Lakers needed. Hopefully, they can keep this rolling.