- Dave McMenamin, ESPN Staff Writer
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LOS ANGELES -- Calling his play "bummish" and "noneffective" in the Los Angeles Lakers' 120-89 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday, Metta World Peace said he "probably" will not play in Sunday's Game 4.
"I was the weak link tonight," World Peace said after going 0-for-6 from the field with no rebounds and one assist in 17 scoreless first-half minutes and not playing in the second half.
World Peace said his sitting out will give the Lakers a better chance to extend the series and give himself more time to get healthy.
"Then these guys will be at full strength," World Peace said. "We'll win on Sunday."
World Peace had approximately 20 CCs of liquid drained from a popliteal cyst in his left leg Friday morning. The cyst was unrelated to the left knee surgery World Peace underwent in late March, according to a team spokesman.
World Peace posted a video message to his Twitter account on Saturday afternoon.
"I definitely want to say I appreciate everyone supporting my efforts on trying to finish the season on top and contribute to the team," World Peace said. "I guess I have to finish the season on top in a different way. I won't be able to play Sunday, but it's OK. We're going to come out with the victory and then we'll move on from there. Hopefully I can get back when we get to San Antonio. But, definitely want to say I appreciate the support. All the fans out there who respect the effort, I'm going to continue to try to give 100 percent. Thanks."
World Peace wasn't playing like gangbusters before the procedure. He averaged just 9 points and 5.5 rebounds in the first two games of the series while shooting 31.8 percent from the field, including a 2-for-11 mark from 3-point range. Taking into account Game 3, World Peace is now shooting 25 percent (7-for-28) in the playoffs.
"I wasn't effective," World Peace said. "There's no sense when we got guys that can win, why not let them win. We'll win Sunday, then I'll be better and then go to San Antonio [for Game 5 on Tuesday] and I'll be really good that day."
World Peace said he had not spoken with Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni after the game about his decision to sit out Game 4, but he spoke to him about being benched at halftime Friday and supported the lineup change.
"D'Antoni made a great decision on pulling me out the second half," World Peace said. "It's not about telling him, it's not about me deciding [not to play], it's about what's best for the team. That's the only thing that matters."
"He played as hard as he could before he drained his leg," D'Antoni said of Games 1 and 2. "He couldn't play the second half [Friday], and we couldn't put him in."
Earl Clark received the lion's share of World Peace's minutes in the second half and did not fare much better, going 0-for-4 from the field with one rebound, one assist, one steal and two turnovers in 14 minutes as the Lakers were outscored by 20 after intermission.
Still, World Peace, who returned to the lineup earlier this month just 12 days after surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee and helped L.A. secure a playoff berth once Kobe Bryant went down with a season-ending Achilles tear, blamed himself for Friday.
"I wasn't helping the team," World Peace said. "Mentally, I was there, but it didn't translate. Physically I wasn't, but mentally I was there. I was trying to hustle a little bit, but Coach saw me dragging. Coach wanted a shot to win. He made a good choice. Collectively, we're going to hang in this thing together and get past this point.
"I really believe if I didn't play tonight, it would have been a faster-paced game for us. Nobody would have been dragging. Everybody would have been 100 percent. It was like 5-on-4."
If L.A. loses Sunday and is swept out of the first round of the playoffs by San Antonio, Friday's Game 3 could end up being the 14-year veteran's last game with the Lakers. World Peace, who turns 34 in November, has a player option for $7.7 million next year in what would be his 15th season. The Lakers still have the amnesty provision available to them should World Peace opt into the contract, a stipulation from the latest NBA collective bargaining agreement that allows a team to waive a player signed prior to the start of the 2011-12 season and take his salary off its cap. World Peace could also explore free agency.
World Peace's agent, Marc Cornstein, told ESPNLosAngeles.com last month that he has not spoken with Lakers management about the possibility of L.A. exercising the amnesty clause on his client.
"That's been tabled for a little while," Cornstein said. "There will be time to go through that after the season."
Unless World Peace's prediction about a win Sunday comes true, it will be time to bring that discussion to the forefront because the season will be over.