4 Reasons the Metta World Peace Suspension Isn't Hurting the Los Angeles Lakers
They haven't batted an eye in the Absence of World Peace (you just can't get enough of that can you?)
There are at least four reasons why they've been able to play so well without Artest's presence and here they are.
Now some of you will notice that there's no Kobe Bryant slide. I'm sure you will ask why I don't have one.
The reason I don't have one is that Kobe is going to be Kobe, whether World Peace is there or not. Kobe's been fantastic, scoring 69 points on 53 shots.
If he had a slide, it would be the biggest reason, but he would be the biggest reason regardless.
It's Metta World Peace, Not Ron Artest
I always felt like Ron Artest was a better name for him anyway. I think of it more as Ron "Our Test" than Artest, but you get my meaning.
Artest was a test, but he was also a test to opposing offenses. His lockdown defense had him regarded once as the best perimeter defender in the game. But that was a lifetime ago, or at least, a name ago.
Metta World Peace isn't about all that consistency on defense and what not. He's not as consistent on offense either. He was picking things up in April. I'll grant you that. He averaged 14.1 points and 4.2 boards in, what was for him, the sweetest month.
But for the bulk of the season, he wasn't much of a contributor and sometimes wasn't much more than dead weight. The Lakers were already used to winning without him.
They're in Los Angles
The Lakers have opened up with their first two games on the road. They've pretty much kicked one butt after another at home. They were tied with Oklahoma City for the Western Conference's best home record, going 26-7 in Staples (well not counting the Clippers anyway).
Yes, you have some pretty "Hollywood" people sitting on the floor, but those are some of the Lakers most intense fans. I double-dog-dare you to bad mouth the Lakers to Jack Nicholson!
There will be a test ahead as the Denver Nuggets are a pretty solid road team too, and as good as the Lakers were at home, they haven't been as good on the road with a 15-18 losing record away from home.
Time will tell if they can keep up the winning ways without World Peace in Mile High. Of course, there's no guarantee he would make a difference either.
A Much More Solid Than Expected Performance from the Bench
The Lakers bench, in particular Jordan Hill, have exceeded expectations. Hill, in fact, has reached double-digit rebounds in both games and had a double-double in Game 1.
Steve Blake didn't do much in Game 2, but he had nine points and four assists in Game 1.
The complementary players like Ramon Sessions, who scored 14 points in both games, have also played well. There's no "one player who is making up for World Peace but the aggregate is doing it.
The moral of the story here is that we can only make up for the loss of World Peace if we all chip in a little!
Andrew Bynum has been an absolute stud during the first two games of the postseason this year. He got a triple-double, including an NBA postseason tying 10 blocked shots in the first game. He scored 27 points and grabbed nine boards in the second game.
He's been percolating all season long as the man who could take the mantle of best center in the NBA away form Dwight Howard.
Howard is helping him along with either a steady stream of idiocy, and then the leg injury [which was not his fault followed by another trade demand (which was his fault)].
So while Bynum is paying huge, Howard isn't playing at all. He's just changing his mind again.
Probably not a lot of Lakers fans who would be pushing for that Pau Gasol/Byum-for-Howard trade right now.