Metta World Peace blows a kiss to the crowd after scoring a basket in a game… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)
It wasn't exactly love at first sight, but Metta World Peace hardly hesitated sharing the message his name entails.
The Lakers forward had just stripped the ball away from Utah's Gordan Hayward before it dribbled out of bounds. World Peace then ran out of bounds and retrieved the ball from a young woman sitting behind the basket. Before he hopped back onto the court, World Peace leaned down and kissed the woman's hand.
"I just saw in her eyes that she liked the hustle," World Peace said after the Lakers' 99-86 preseason loss Saturday to the Utah Jazz at Staples Center. "I saw it in her eyes. We made eye contact."
Other Laker fans may or may not have liked World Peace mimicking what many of them do on the Kiss Cam. Lakers Coach Mike Brown, for one, called World Peace a "smart fan" after a reporter informed him the woman he kissed was good looking.
World Peace posted 13 points on a three-of-four clip from three-point range and a four-of-six mark from the three-point line. World Peace also tallied four assists. It provided the latest example on how World Peace's superb conditioning has helped him become a more offensive threat, compared with last season when he averaged a career-low 7.7 points on 39.4% shooting. Through three exhibition games, World Peace has averaged 11.67 points on a 50% clip.
"I feel good that I can get to the basket and push it without getting tired," said World Peace, who entered this year weighing 255 pounds after appearing in last year's training camp at 274. "I can push multiple times to the basket. I can go right a little bit more than last year and they don't know what's going on. I can help my team out more."
That includes the hustle that resulted in World Peace having a moment worthy of being captured on the Kiss Cam.
Did World Peace get the fan's phone number?
"No number needed," World Peace said with a smile. "She's a fan and is a real nice lady."
E-mail the Lakers blog at email@example.com. Follow the Lakers blog on Twitter.