OKLAHOMA CITY — The minute his name was said during starting lineup introductions, Metta World Peace received a healthy chorus of boos here at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Anytime World Peace touched the ball, the jeers persisted. Safe to say Thunder fans haven’t forgotten one bit the Lakers’ eccentric forward swinging an elbow at James Harden last season and giving him a concussion. Harden has since left, choosing a higher role and salary with the Houston Rockets. But World Peace found a new Thunder villain in the form of Serge Ibaka.
Late in the Lakers’ 114-108 loss Friday to Oklahoma City, World Peace and Ibaka tangled up while fighting for rebounding position during a free throw. The physical nature then led to a new altercation before the two were separated and drew technical fouls.
Despite numerous questions about the incident afterwards, World Peace declined to discuss the incident. Instead, he explained why he believes the Lakers will be fine.
“We have the best team in the NBA,” World Peace said. “Look at the roster. We got Dwight Howard. I’m in better shape this year.”
Still, World Peace didn’t buy the team-convention expressed afterwards that this was an encouraging game despite the loss.
“Not really,” World Peace said. “We could’ve played better team ball … Out of the starting five, you have a lot of players who averaged over 20 [points] in their career and have played at a high level. It’s kind of disappointing. I’m just disappointed OKC beat the Lakers.”
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