Metta World Peace gets a groove back
DALLAS — Metta World Peace’s off-season carried its own reputation.
A lot of partying, a lot of traveling and also a lot of work.
He set out to lose weight and fix his outside shot. Consider him a go on both.
He had 19 points Saturday against the Dallas Mavericks, the 11th consecutive game in which he hit double-figure scoring.
“It’s been a long time,” he said, smiling after the Lakers’ 115-89 victory.
It blows away any scoring streaks in his four-year Lakers tenure, his previous high only seven consecutive games of double-digit scoring
“We’re just running and I’m in shape,” World Peace said. “Everybody put in work this summer.”
Despite his own work, it took World Peace a bit to get on track this season — he scored three, 10 and eight points in the Lakers’ first three games. Same ol’ Metta, it appeared, as three-point shots went awry and turnovers were racked up (six against Portland).
Now he’s routinely scoring in the teens, with ease, 33 years young all of a sudden.
Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni said World Peace would average between 17 and 20 points in the new up-tempo offense. He’s close.
He’s averaging 16.3 points since D’Antoni’s first game on the sidelines. His teammates are aware, especially after he made five of seven three-point shots Saturday.
“He came out on fire,” Dwight Howard said. “I think that’s the reason we got off to a good start.”
World Peace had 16 points as the Lakers took a 65-38 halftime lead.
He doesn’t carry the scoring or playmaking credentials of Howard, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol or Steve Nash. But if you believe Howard, World Peace can still be a strength on offense.
“Sometimes teams forget about him,” he said. “They focus in on me and Pau and Kobe and they leave him. That’s when he’s able to cause havoc.”
Cuban not biting
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban usually enjoys poking fun at the Lakers, his years of zinging Phil Jackson (and vice versa) practically legendary. He didn’t pile on top of the Lakers’ recent drama, however, despite the glut of topics (coaching change, poor road record, Gasol’s struggles).
“There’s no point in it,” Cuban said before Saturday’s game. Let sleeping Lakers lie, or something like that.
He did point out that Lakers followers could often be sour.
“Lakers fans want to say something about the Lakers no matter what. They have more Twitter courage than any other fan base I’ve had to deal with,” he said. “They talk more trash, give you more crap, make more threats than any other fan base on Twitter.”
“Twitter’s just so easy,” Cuban said. “It’s so easy to set up a fake account and to hide behind that identity. They’re just brutal. I’m not suggesting it’s all Laker fans. Just most.”
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