When the gasps heighten at Staples Center, that means one thing.
Metta World Peace has just attempted a 3-pointer.
Those anxieties diminished at parts this season because of World Peace’s surprisingly improved accuracy. But not in the Lakers’ 90-81 victory Sunday over the Chicago Bulls where World Peace missed all of his six 3-point attempt, including an airball.
Still, World Peace played a large part in holding forward Carlos Boozer to 12 points on 4 of 16 shooting and forcing three turnovers.
“He was a little worried about it,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said about World Peace’s outside shooting. “But he was so valuable with his work down inside with Boozer.”
World Peace sounded surprised he provided that job description even though he’s often been considered one of the league’s top defenders. With Pau Gasol out of the lineup for the past four weeks because of a torn plantar fascia in his right foot, World Peace has defended power forwards while also having a large offensive role.
Even though he said he felt fatigued, World Peace said he leaned on his physical 6’7”, 260-pound frame to offset the difference.
“He was putting so much pressure on me,” World Peace said of Boozer. “I may as well have given up on that game. I didn’t have it. It was all mental. Just go and be mentally tough.”
World Peace compensated for his poor outside shooting by scoring 12 points on 6 of 10 shooting inside the perimeter. After missing his six 3-point attempts, World Peace took a step in on his attempts.
“Nobody has ever made all their shots,” World Peace said. “Knowing that, I feel pretty comfortable taking the next shot. But you still want to do what’s best for the team.”
World Peace had issues beyond his poor marksmanship.
Kobe Bryant jawed at him after committing an offensive foul on Luol Deng late in the first half, prompting Steve Nash to intervene.
“That’s not necessary with me and Kobe,” World Peace said. “We have that relationship where we’re honest.”