LOS ANGELES — In the final home game of the season, the Los Angeles Lakers kept on chugging toward to their fifth straight win by topping the New Orleans Pelicans 108-96.
The Lakers were led by Metta World Peace who had a team-high 18 points in possibly his last home game with the team. The win also marked the first time since closing out the 2012-13 season with five straight victories. Here a few takeaways from Tuesday night:
Metta’s Memorable Night
In what could be his final home game as a member of the Lakers, World Peace got the call in the starting lineup in the place of D’Angelo Russell and put up a strong outing with a team-high 18 points on 7-of-17 shooting with 4-of-10 shooting from 3-point range and four steals in 25 minutes played.
After going scoreless in the first half missing his only two shot attempts in nine minutes, World Peace picked it up in the third quarter nailing his first made field goal on his fourth attempt from beyond the arc and followed it up with a driving layup. With a steal in the period, he moved past former Laker Ron Haper for 22nd on the NBA’s all-time steals list.
World Peace added to scoring totals in the fourth quarter notching 11 points that began with knocking down his first two shots of the fourth quarter with a turnaround jumper followed up by a straightaway 3-pointer. He kept it going knocking down another pair of attempts from beyond the arc.
Although he fell short of reaching 20 points after missing his final four shots, it was a memorable outing for the veteran forward in likely his last playing as a Laker at Staples Center.
“I’m grateful. Absolutely,” World Peace said. “Definitely grateful for everything. Obviously, I’m going to keep working out. Absolutely grateful. Absolutely.”
Following the game, World Peace was doused with a bucket full of ice by teammates, which he voiced much appreciation for the longevity he has had over his long NBA career.
“It was a great feeling. I’m not going to lie,” World Peace said. “I have been at the top. I have been an All-Star, Sixth in MVP voting one year, Defensive Player of the Year, All-Defensive First Team. This is the best feeling to be at the bottom and building the foundation. Grinding, Grinding, and grinding. I don’t think I have experienced anything like that.”
With the season winding down, Brandon Ingram put forth another encouraging performance against New Orleans recording 15 points with six assists and five rebounds in 28 minutes played.
Despite struggling with his shot hitting 6-of-16 attempts, Ingram was able to dictate for the most part where his shot came from on the floor. In fact, a decent portion of his misses came from mid-range pull-up jumpers.
That said, Ingram provided another highlight-reel worthy play near the end of the third quarter throwing a monstrous one-hand dunk over Pelicans rookie Cheick Diallo.
“I think was the first time that I ever got emotional like that,” Ingram said. “I think it was a good play for us to end with in the third quarter and definitely excited about it.”
Although Ingram didn’t play in the fourth quarter, it was another progressive step forward in one of the final games of his rookie campaign. He has seen his production and offensive efficiency rise since the All-Star break averaging 13.3 points on 49.5 percent shooting from the field.
Ingram will have the opportunity to finish off his first year on a high note on Wednesday against the Golden State Warriors.
In the last couple of weeks, the Lakers have found a recipe to success tallying off their first five-game winning streak in four years.
Los Angeles had another solid all-around team performance with five players in double figures while shooting 47.7 percent field and 24 assists. They also won the rebounding battle with a 47-39 and recorded 15 steals in the win.
“It feels good to win,” Ingram said. “Just going out there and playing loose on the offense and defensive end, making our mistakes, but of course in and having the chance win these games.”
This has brought much satisfaction to head coach Luke Walton to be playing well at the tail end of his first year on the job.
“It’s fun to coach these guys when they are playing the way they’ve played the past couple weeks,” Walton said. “They are playing with passion, to compete, and when that’s happening, as a coach you can sit back and enjoy that because they’re making plays and you can live with the mistakes.”