Metta World Peace not looking to go out with bang, just assists

first_img“I just play hard. That’s it. There’s nothing else to think about,” World Peace said. “You just got out here and play hard and have a good time. That’s it. I don’t think about anything else.”World Peace also insisted he no longer thinks about the strong fan reception he receives after initially soaking in the moment. He thought plenty, though, of the irony of the moment. When World Peace played with the Lakers from 2009 through 2013, plenty of fans sounded anxious when he took 3-pointers or ran the fast break.“They used to boo,” World Peace said. “I could hear that (stuff). But for me, I don’t care. I’m going to continue to shoot as long as I’m on the (expletive) floor,” World Peace said. “You never know which one of them might go in. One of them might go in. You give yourselves a chance.”Fond farewell?For what might mark his last game at Staples Center wearing a Lakers uniform, World Peace will not have the same kind of farewell that accompanied Kobe Bryant’s career-finale.World Peace will not have a documentary crew following his every move. The Lakers will not hold a video tribute filled with testimony about his accomplished career that included helping the Lakers win the 2010 NBA championship. World Peace will not try to mimic Bryant’s scoring output that he posted in his last game nearly a year ago.“Kobe had 60!” Lakers forward Nick Young told World Peace at his locker before Sunday’s game against Minnesota at Staples Center.“I’m not going for that,” World Peace said. “If I can get five assists, I’ll be happy.”World Peace’s reasoning is simple.World Peace does not plan to formally retire following his 17th NBA season and 18th professionally after also playing overseas in China and Italy in 2013-14. The 37-year-old World Peace hopes to play at least two more years in the NBA or overseas, which would mark a 20-year career.“I want to play a long time,” World Peace said. “That’s cool. All I got to do is work hard. I know what I have to do to get there. I set those goals a long time ago and I don’t have to think any more.”Hence, World Peace would love to re-sign with the Lakers once he becomes an unrestricted free agent in July to mark the third consecutive year he fulfills a mentor year. Yet, World Peace remains mindful of the Lakers’ higher offseason priorities.“There’s too many free agents and rookies they have to sign,” World Peace said of the Lakers. “It’s the last thing I would think about this early. The whole league has to get the free agents, the rookies and get the B-class players and C-class players. I never think about it. It’s too early.”It’s not too early to know how Lakers coach Luke Walton will handle Tuesday’s game against New Orleans at Staples Center. That marks the Lakers’ last home game of the 2016-17 season before their season-finale in Golden State on Wednesday. “Whether it’s his last game or not,” Walton said, “we’ll get him out here.”World Peace entered Sundat’s game averaging only 1.3 points on 21.6 percent shooting in 5.2 minutes through 22 appearances. But he has earned rave reviews the past two years for his practice intensity, positive reinforcement to younger teammates and sharing his dietary habits.“We want to reward Metta every chance we get for how great he’s been this year and the way he’s worked and the way he helps the young guys and being positive,” Walton said. “He’s been one of the better players in this league for a long time. He’s won a championship with this organization, obviously. So that comes into play.”Balancing actThe performance left Walton entertained. He watched David Nwaba lead the D-Fenders in a Game 2 win over Rio Grande Valley of the Development League’s Western Conference semifinals with 22 points on a 8-of-14 shooting. The performance also left Walton concerned. Nwaba logged 41 minutes for the second consecutive D-League game despite also playing for the Lakers.So, Walton sat Nwaba for the second consecutive game for the Lakers.“The last thing we want is to overuse him and make him susceptible to injury,” Walton said.Yet, it sounds like Walton has wished for a compromise as Nwaba bounces between the D-Fenders (Game 3 on Monday) and the Lakers (vs. New Orleans on Tuesday). Although Walton said he has talked with D-Fenders president Joey Buss and coach Coby Karl, Nwaba’s participation in the D-League has come at the expense of his participation with the Lakers. The Lakers had signed Nwaba in late February after he spent most of the season with the D-Fenders.“We want to do what’s best for David,” Walton said. “A big part of what’s best for David is what he feels is best for him. The D-League team is a team he’s played with all year so he’s close with them. It’s the playoffs, so you want to help your team win. We feel confident with what we’ve seen out of him so far. But, he, in my opinion helps us win and makes winning plays. We stay in communication and we try to make the decision on what’s best for him.”Nwaba first faced this unique challenged last week. After playing 29 minutes last Wednesday in San Antonio, Nwaba and D-Fenders general manager Nick Mazzella made the 3 ½ hour drive to Hildalgo, Texas for Game 1 of the D-Fenders’ playoff series against Rio Grande Valley on Thursday. After logging 39 minutes on Thursday, Walton sat Nwaba despite insisting he felt fine to play.“He was telling me one thing,” Walton said. “But the body language was saying something different.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersThat did not stop World Peace teammates from razzing him. Randle joked it took World Peace about 30 seconds before taking the shot. Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson abstained from diplomacy so he could crack a joke.“His leg, he was shaking like a stripper in the corner,” Clarkson said, laughing. “He didn’t know what he was going to do. I thought, ‘Is he going to shoot it?’ I’m looking at him like, ‘You see his leg shaking?’ I know he made bigger shots than this.”Yes, he has. And that’s why the 18,997 fans cheered for World Peace and implored him to shoot anytime he touched the ball.“When Metta shot the three, I thought ‘How perfect is this?’” said Lakers coach Luke Walton, who played with the former Ron Artest with the Lakers from 2009 to 2012. “Metta World Peace is going to make a game-winning three.”World Peace didn’t, but he still made several other key plays. After sitting through three quarters, the 37-year-old World Peace provided reason for the fans to cheer besides nostalgia for his possible final week wearing a Lakers uniform. He handled the ball before making a fadeaway jump shot. Nearly 90 seconds later, World Peace sank a 3-pointer. By the end of the game, World Peace posted eight points on 3-of-8 shooting in 11 minutes.center_img LOS ANGELES >> The crowd stood ready in anticipation as they greeted Metta World Peace.The Lakers had signed a previous fan favorite for the second consecutive year on a role that involved more mentoring than less theatrics than when he provided in that legendary Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics. But there the 37-year-old forward stood on a court, ready to secure a game in crunchtime during a season that previously focused more on his younger teammates trying to do the same.On the fast break of the last possession of the game, Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell set World Peace for an open 3-pointer. He hesitated for a few seconds before shooting a 3-pointer that hit off the front of the rim. No matter. Lakers forward Julius Randle grabbed the rebound and set Russell up for the game-winning 3-pointer in the Lakers’ 110-109 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday at Staples Center.“I wanted to shoot the three. I wanted to try to end the game, but I didn’t know if I was behind the line,” World Peace said, chuckling. “My leg started shaking like a dog. I didn’t know where I was. Then it looked like I was nervous. I wasn’t.”last_img

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