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Playoffs report card: Metta World Peace

May 23, 2012|By Mark Medina

This is the first in a series of posts grading the Lakers on their efforts in the 2012 NBA playoffs

Player: Metta World Peace

How he performed in the postseason: Averaged 11.7 points per game on 36.7% shooting in 39.3 minutes through six contests. 

The Good: When he wasn't arranging fan gatherings to watch the Lakers' playoff games during his seven-game suspension, World Peace did something that he failed to do during the off-season: He stayed in shape. According to figures he posted on Twitter, World Peace weighed 268 pounds on Dec. 11 and lost 22 pounds by April 30. Meanwhile, his body-fat percentage dropped from 13.3% to 8.4% over the same period.

That approach paid off when World Peace proved he was just as worthy as Ron Artest in delivering in a Game 7. This wasn't the 2010 NBA Finals in which Artest had his best season as a Laker and delivered a memorable press conference where he thanked his psychologist and expressed giddiness over seeing a Wheaties box. This was Game 7 of the Lakers' first-round series against Denver, and World Peace helped the Lakers avoid an unraveling. He provided everything across the board with 15 points, five rebounds, four steals, a facilitating presence and cross-matching effectiveness on Danilo Gallinari and Andre Miller. 

Against Oklahoma City, World Peace scored in double digits in four of the five games, including a four-of-eight effort from three-point range that nearly secured Game 4. Considering Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol didn't always show consistent aggressiveness in the postseason, World Peace at least gave the Lakers consistent hustle.

The Bad: Who cares if World Peace felt excited over throwing down his third dunk in a regular-season game against Oklahoma City. Whether it was intentional or not, his elbow to Harden and subsequent suspension severely hurt the Lakers. Devin Ebanks put together modest albeit unspectacular performances in World Peace's absence, while Matt Barnes proved to be a no-show. The Lakers lacked a consistent defender who could guard multiple positions. They severely needed his post presence to help space the floor. Instead, World Peace let his team down by acting too emotional.

Although his flagrant foul on Thabo Sefolosha in Game 5 reeked of World Peace suffering from a poor reputation, he hardly made things better by drawing a technical foul just as OKC started to make a run to close the first half. Even worse, World Peace didn't provide the defense needed in guarding Kevin Durant. Yes, World Peace made Durant work for his points. But it hardly did anything as the Thunder forward averaged 26.8 points on 51.8% shooting, including a game-winning three-pointer in Game 4 right in front of World Peace.

Grade: B-

RELATED:

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Devin Ebanks' future with Lakers may hinge on playing time

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Email the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com. Follow the Lakers blog on Twitter.

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