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LAKERS FYI

Metta World Peace says there are no excuses for Lakers' struggles

Veteran dismisses notion that the team can't win without the injured Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Pau Gasol.

December 12, 2012|By Mike Bresnahan
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NEW YORK — If there's one guy on the Lakers you don't want to irritate, it's Metta World Peace, in case his 10 NBA-imposed suspensions since 2003 don't sledgehammer home the point.

But in a quiet corner of the Lakers locker room Tuesday night, World Peace had something to say about all the Lakers' injuries.

He wasn't as irritable as Coach Mike D'Antoni, who challenged a reporter's assertion that the Lakers didn't work much on defense before their 100-94 loss to Cleveland.

Nor was World Peace as succinct as Dwight Howard — "We're sick of losing" — or as red-flag waving as Kobe Bryant, who said this was one of the most baffling stretches of his career.

But World Peace knew one thing. He didn't want to hear that the Lakers were short-handed without Steve Nash, Pau Gasol and, sure, Steve Blake.

"That's an excuse," World Peace said. "You know I can't use no excuses. You know I can't do that. I wasn't born to be dependent and to wish and 'What if?' I wasn't born like that. I was born to go get it."

It's the opposite of what D'Antoni and some players are preaching to reporters, a wait-and-see approach until Nash and Gasol return, whenever that is.

The Lakers can't keep waiting, stuck at 9-13 and laughably far behind Oklahoma City, San Antonio and the Clippers in the standings.

After a loss to Oklahoma City last week, World Peace said the Lakers "obviously" had "the best team in the NBA." Yeah, he might want that one back.

He tried to sound somewhat reassuring Tuesday.

"The story's going to write itself," he said. "You could actually write a book right now on what's happened so far."

Gasol, Nash updates

Nash did some jump-shooting around the perimeter Tuesday, his latest step toward returning from a fractured left leg that has kept him out of 20 games.

He said it would be "at least 10 days" until he returned, meaning he'll sit out four more games in the best-case situation.

The key for him is advancing from solo workouts to two-on-two or three-on-three games. For now, though, he still can't run.

"He has to simulate a little action," D'Antoni said. "He hasn't done that. Then the next day, if he wakes up without pain, that's the next thing."

Gasol has sat out five games because of tendinitis in his knees, the Lakers going 1-4 in his absence. He called the soreness "an enigma" Tuesday, though the team remained hopeful he would play Thursday against New York.

Back to the Garden

D'Antoni returns to Madison Square Garden for the first time since resigning as coach of the New York Knicks in March. He was 121-167 in nearly four seasons with them.

The Lakers lost in New York last season when Jeremy Lin had 38 points and seven assists in a 92-85 Knicks victory. It ended at nine a streak of Lakers victories against New York.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

Twitter:@Mike_Bresnahan

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