Just as he’s proclaiming optimism that the Lakers’ can become the first NBA team ever to overcome a 0-3 deficit, Metta World Peace says he wants no part of it.
The Lakers’ 120-89 Game 3 loss to the San Antonio Spurs Friday at Staples Center featured World Peace going scoreless on zero of six shooting. And if this is what’s going to happen as he struggles finding his form in the eight games since returning from left knee surgery, World Peace wants no part of it. So he said he will sit out Sunday in Game 4 all for the sake of giving his team a better chance to win.
“I’ll probably sit out Sunday. Then these guys will be at full strength and they’ll be a strong five for a consistent game,” World Peace said. “We lacked that tonight. I was the waek link tonight. I missed defensive assignments and wnet short on a lot of shots. I couldn’t hustle on defense.”
The effort looked so ugly that Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni sat him for the entire second half.
“He played as hard as he could before he drained his knee,” D’Antoni said. “He couldn’t play the second half and we couldn’t put him in.”
World Peace has gone through such issues in the past two weeks since returning a mere 12 days after having surgery to remove torn cartilage in his left knee. Before the Lakers’ Game 3 loss to the Spurs, World Peace has only averaged 7.57 points on 33.9 percent shooting in the previous seven games. That marks a steep drop off from his season averages of 12.4 points on a 40.3 percent clip.
That’s why he had 20 ccs of fluid drained Friday from a cyst in his left knee. It didn’t make much of a difference.
“Mentally, I was there, but it didn’t translate,” World Peace said. “Physically I wasn’t there. Mentally, I tried to hustle. Coach saw me dragging. He made a great choice. I really believe if I didn’t play tonight, it would’ve been a faster paced game for us. Nobody would’ve been dragging. We weren’t 100 percent. It was like playing five on four.”
But with the Lakers already nursing injuries to Kobe Bryant (torn left Achilles’ tendon), Steve Nash (sore right hamstring), Steve Blake (strained right hamstring) and Jodie Meeks (partially torn ligament in left ankle), would coach Mike D’Antoni be receptive to shrinking his rotation even more? It’s unclear if World Peace addressed his plan to sit out of Game 4 with D’Antoni.
“It’s not necessary,” World Peace said. “We talked at halftime. That’s why he took me out the rest of the game. He wants to win. We’re on the same page. I don’t even need ot talk to him that I want to win.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org