Metta World Peace: What to Expect from Lakers Star in Return vs. Nuggets

Luis BatlleContributor IMay 12, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 22:  Metta World Peace #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers leaves the court after being ejected for hitting James Harden #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder at Staples Center on April 22, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The  Lakers won 114-106 in double overtime.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Lakers talent Metta World Peace has spent the last two weeks on the sidelines and will now be the x-factor, the difference-maker in a Game 7 against the Denver Nuggets that his team desperately needs.

World Peace was suspended for seven games by NBA Commissioner David Stern and the league office for an elbow to the head of Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden.

The shot to the head was as disgusting, uncalled for and unsportsmanlike as any we have seen in recent memory, as the suspension was undoubtedly warranted. If anything, World Peace was fortunate to miss just seven games for the cheap blow.

Yet now it's in the past, and there's no question these Lakers are all the more confident that World Peace will be taking the court with them in Game 7.

These are the three reasons why Metta World Peace will be the missing piece to the puzzle that these Lakers have been searching for against this high-powered Denver Nuggets squad.


Aggressive Play Offensively

World Peace has undoubtedly lost a step or two in the scoring department, yet there is no question that his aggressive, tenacious way about him has been missed on this end of the floor.

He is a talent that does anything but settle for jump shots, as he likes to take the ball to the basket and make things happen at the rim. With the Lakers boasting such size and skill in the frontcourt in Andrew Bynum and Pay Gasol, World Peace will give these talents all the more opportunities to make plays by taking the ball into the paint.

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 15:  Metta World Peace #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers scores on a layup in front of Brendan Haywood #33 and Shawn Marion #0 of the Dallas Mavericks during the first half at Staples Center on April 15, 2012 in Los Angeles, California
Harry How/Getty Images

In spite of averaging a career-low 7.7 points per game this season, World Peace has picked up the pace in his last several outings. He has scored at least 10 points in seven straight games and in nine of his last 10. 

In a win over the West-leading San Antonio Spurs on the road, World Peace fueled the team with 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting. Make no mistake about it, an aggressive World Peace means big things for the Lakers.



As much as those around the game think of World Peace as a dirty, selfish player based on his outbursts, he is also a fantastic player to have because he has such a drive to win games.

This is a player that will make the hustle plays, dive for loose balls and put in the extra work to help his team win games.

It is also integral to consider the playoff experience he boasts, which fuels this intensity of his. World Peace is a veteran that has played in the league for 13 seasons and has played in 76 postseason games. 

With that type of experience and an undeniable passion for the game, World Peace's impact will be felt from tipoff.


The Lakers Will Bring It On Defense, World Peace Will Lead the Way

It is what he is known for, the one factor that makes for his fat contracts: his defensive presence.

Hands down a top defensive presence in the league, World Peace will clog the paint against the Nuggets, a team that has destroyed the Lakers by getting the ball into the paint.

Point guards Ty Lawson and Andre Miller have taken over this series by attacking the rim and creating opportunities for their bigs to make plays. The No. 1 scoring team in the NBA this season has Lawson and Miller averaging 11.7 assists, 30.9 points and just three turnovers per game.

Their ability to not give away the basketball and make plays offensively has helped fuel this Nuggets team to a 3-3 series tie.

In what will be a Game 7 victory for the L.A. Lakers, expect World Peace to bring his all on the defensive end and keep Lawson and Miller out of the paint regularly.