Metta World Peace has played like the old Ron Artest lately, which he claims is due to getting his body right. From the LA Times: “The Lakers’ 93-83 victory Sunday over the Miami Heat featured a worthy sidekick to complement Bryant’s 33 points on 14-of-23 shooting. It came in the form of World Peace, whose 17 points on six-of-10 shooting, seven rebounds and four steals only told half the story. The other half: LeBron James scored 25 points on 12-of-26 shooting, which points to World Peace guarding him. World Peace hardly wants to pin this elevated performance as simply a byproduct of performing well a marquee game. ‘I’ve been playing defense before I met LeBron,’ he said. ‘I’m one of the best defensive players ever on the wing. Sometimes the media hides away from the fact. I’m definitely one of the best the last decade.’ And World Peace points to his returned from against Miami reflected pointed to two other things. He sharpened his conditioning since arriving to training camp out of shape. The Lakers’ training staff also healed an unspecified nerve injury in his legs dating to last season. ‘The trainers discovered the problem I have,’ World Peace said. ‘Now they were taking care of me. Now my body is starting to work. You should see the same old Ron that people are used to.” World Peace hasn’t officially changed his name back to Ron Artest, but he might as well. Against Miami, World Peace showed remnants of his old self. He barely gave James room to maneuever on postups. World Peace helped Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in showing on pick-and-roll plays without exposing the paint. He constantly switched, rotated or closed out to make sure the Heat weren’t open on the perimeter. Offensively, well that was another story. In the last five games, World Peace has averaged 8.4 points on 43.3% shooting, a stark improvement from his season average of 5.3 points and 34.9% shooting. His play might have looked as awkward as when World Peace came out of the trainer’s room wearing only his boxers, talking on his cell phone and then insisting he’s ready to talk to reporters before dressing. But it worked. ‘Youre really starting to see, in my opinion, who he is,’ Lakers Coach Mike Brown said.”
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