Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace is a handful off the court and on it. In addition to being the sort of person who decides it'd be a good idea to change his name from Ron Artest to promote positive values, he also has a tendency to forget himself as a basketball player. On the other hand, he can also be a solid fifth or sixth option and be a tough guy at the defensive end.
On Monday night, the worst parts of World Peace's basketball self won out, with nearly disastrous results for the Lakers. It's all in the video above, courtesy of our friends at the Yahoo! Sports Minute.
Holding a 93-91 lead over the New Orleans Hornets with 1.2 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, all World Peace had to do was throw an inbounds pass to a teammate and let the game end with a few free throws, if even that. Instead, he passed the ball into the backcourt to Matt Barnes with Jason Smith of the Hornets close by. If Smith had turned around earlier, he could have easily taken the ball and hoisted up a shot with the chance to win or send the game to overtime. Luckily for the Lakers, Barnes reacted quickly and fielded the pass.
Lakers broadcaster Stu Lantz, who's been around the NBA since he was drafted in 1968, said it was the worst play he's ever seen in his life. While that might be a bit of an exaggeration — Smith would have had to do something really amazing to make World Peace pay — it was pretty stupid. Enough, in fact, that I can't think of any reasonable explanation for why he might have decided this pass was a smart one.
For his part, World Peace argued his point at length on Twitter over the course of Monday night:
Easy pass... Jason smith is a poker player.matt played running back. 1.3 seconds. Jason smith cant bend down that far. Keep the ball low.
The play I made at the end was so smart.. Coach has me take the ball out every crucial play... I made two key passes from out of bounds
Remember who pass the ball to Ramon for three... Ok basketball for dummies.. Yal ready????
Count in ur heads .1.3secs.. Some tips the ball . .9 secs left. Ball bounces.. .5 secs left. Grab the bal..3secs is not enough time to shoot
The past was dangerous and courageous. That's why I'm taking the ball out.. It's an easy pass for someone like me. Just like the 3..easy
That pass is in my bag of tricks. I would use again if I had to....
Why this strategy wouldn't have made more sense with a pass farther from the basket is beyond me. Or maybe I just don't understand what it means to be courageous.
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