- Dave McMenamin, ESPN.com
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With just seven games remaining in the regular season, Metta World Peace says that one important facet of the Lakers' game is already in postseason form.
"We have the playoff tempo, that’s what people don’t understand," World Peace told "The Mason & Ireland Show" on 710 ESPN on Thursday (listen to the podcast here). "Don’t even think about the game, the shots, the rebounds, the blocked shots, the dunks. We have the tempo that it takes to win."
The Lakers won two out of three games without Kobe Bryant in the lineup because of tenosynovitis in Bryant's left shin. While they fell into the Phoenix Suns' frenetic pace in the first game without Bryant, allowing the Suns to take 94 shot attempts in a 125-105 loss, they held the Hornets to 80 shot attempts and the Spurs to just 81 in consecutive wins to end their three-game road trip on a high note.
"We have the tempo because we have the big guys and then you’re not just going to come down and just score (on them) like that," World Peace said, appearing on the radio show to promote his podcast, "Mettaphorically Speaking: The Ron & Metta Show.”
World Peace said that tempo can be something that is hard to grasp because, "it’s something that doesn’t really exist, you can’t really touch it."
Even though the Lakers have allowed teams to score 100 points or more 14 times in March and April after only letting that happen seven times in December, January and February, World Peace claims that tempo will take care of their D.
"It’s not really about our defense," World Peace said. "It’s about our offensive tempo. If we play at the right offensive tempo, our defense is going to be set and your best scorer, most likely, is going to be stopped."
He added that he isn't just promoting a slow, grind-it-out, anti-Showtime way to play.
"It’s not necessarily slowing it down because you never know who is out there," World Peace said. "It’s about the five who are out there playing to our strengths. That’s what I was so proud of (Ramon) Sessions. He caught on … To the veterans’ fault, we didn’t tell him this early. We just told him this a couple games ago and he mastered it."
World Peace, who told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Wednesday that he was considering retiring in the offseason because of a nerve issue in his lower back, has just as good a reason to be excited about his individual play as he does to be encouraged by how the Lakers are performing.
In seven games in April, a healthy and slimmed-down World Peace is averaging 14.3 points on 54.2 percent shooting from the field.
"I feel so confident in my team," World Peace told ESPN 710. "I work hard. That's what people should know about me. I work hard. I eat right. I'm in the gym. I lost 20 pounds. So, don't worry about my game and me not working hard. I'm more athletic as the season came on and I'm playing better. So, you don't do that by sleeping and playing on the Internet all night (recording podcasts)."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.
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