Can Metta World Peace Help Lakers Beat Nuggets in Game 7? (VIDEO)
There’s no doubt that Los Angeles Lakers fans have to be extremely concerned about Mike Brown’s grip on this team and the mental state of 24-year-old center, Andrew Bynum. Speaking of mental, Metta World Peace will be making his return to starting lineup following a 7-game suspension for elbowing OKC’s James Harden in the neck.
MWP rejoins the team just in time to help the Lakers avoid what would be a catastrophic first-round elimination to the Denver Nuggets. When you think about it, Ron Artest is bringing joy to a place nicknamed the City of Angels, which is pretty ironic, I must say.
Nevertheless, it would appear that first-year Lakers coach Mike Brown has no option but to rely on MWP to bring some much-needed energy and intensity. After all, Brown’s job may be on the line should the Lakers lose to Denver tonight in Game 7 of this Western Conference series.
“We don’t have much to lose, so we’re going to play him,” Browns said.
One guy who’s extremely and genuinely happy to see No.15 back in the lineup is Kobe Bryant. The Black Mamba is coming off an inspiring performance in which he needed 4 bags of fluids just to suit up and play. After pathetic efforts from Bynum and Pau Gasol in game 6, Bryant is counting on the former Defensive Player of the Year tom come in and have an immediate impact.
“I don’t think he’s going to be rusty defensively at all,” Bryant said. “His shot, maybe. He’s been working extremely hard so that might not even be an issue.”
Bryant, who received zero support from his teammates, scored a team-high 31 points on 13-for-23 shooting in game 6. However, that’s all the Lakers got as they came out flat and paid for it from the start. In the end, Bryant couldn’t do it alone, as they were embarrassed by the Nuggets, 96-113. Bynum finished the game with 11 points and 16 rebounds, while the Spaniard was a non-factor with his pitiful 3-point contribution.
On Friday, Bryant spoke to reporters about the intangibles that a guy like Metta World Peace brings to a basketball team, almost taking a shot at the rest of the guys who seem pretty unmotivated to play right now. With a guy like Artest, Bryant doesn’t have to worry about trying to motivate him to compete. The 2-time NBA Finals MVP says he’s happy to have MWP back in the lineup and is counting on him to fight until the end, no matter what.
“I expect him to come out and play with the tenacity that he’s known for,” Bryant added. “He’s the one guy that I can rely on night in and night out to compete and play hard and play with that sense of urgency and play with no fear.
“I’m looking forward to having that by my side again. My type of competitiveness and energy level is not something I expect every guy to have. That’s not to say that they don’t have it; it’s just that Metta’s intensity is similar to my own. It’s a simple as that.”
Needless to say that the LA are going to need all hands on deck in order to close out a Denver team that’s riveting with confidence right now. After beating the Lakers at home in Game 5, the Nuggets feel very confident about their chances to become just the ninth NBA team in history to overcome a 1-3 deficit in a best-of-seven playoff series.