Kobe Bryant’s high usage is well-established. He’s still taking 29 percent of his team’s shots, well ahead of second-place Carmelo Anthony (24 percent).
But the Lakers guard can turn a phrase on an old topic.
Baxter Holmes of ESPN:
Now playing in China, World Peace is opening up about just what that meant.
The former Ron Artest disclosed he and J.R. Smith had a heated incident in the locker room after a game last season because World Peace was trying to get Smith to play harder on defense.
World Peace’s agent, Marc Cornstein, spoke to the Knicks during the summer, and World Peace reached out personally to Jackson, who never returned his phone call.
“I don’t understand why they didn’t [sign] me,’’ World Peace said. “But then again, I’m very direct. I think I was too direct in the locker room, too direct to J.R. Smith. It wasn’t from a bad place. I’m older, been on great teams in Sacramento and L.A.
“If someone is not playing defense or not giving effort, that’s my specialty. I don’t hold back on my words. Nobody wants to talk direct to them. We don’t give it to them straight.
“I said some things directly to J.R. Smith in the locker room and he challenged me back, said some direct things to me. But he understood where we came from.”
According to World Peace, on one occasion, owner James Dolan walked into the film room for a bull session. World Peace said he was the only player to speak up about why the team was in disarray.
“You don’t hold nothing back when things are going wrong,’’ World Peace said. “You have to tell Melo [Carmelo Anthony] when he’s being lazy. You have to speak about these things, so when the playoffs come, everyone knows where everybody stands.’’
Keep in mind, this is World Peace’s version of events. J.R. Smith – or Kenyon Martin, who also reportedly bickered with World Peace in the locker room – might perceive them differently.
This mostly sounds like a case of a player losing his standing as a leader as his playing time diminishes. Yes, World Peace has championship experience, but at 34, he was no longer that same player with the Knicks last season. His teammates don’t necessarily want to hear about their own effort when World Peace is no longer competing at an acceptable level, even if his downturn is related more to aging than desire.
World Peace clearly wants to return to the NBA once the Chinese season ends in February – whether he joins the Clippers, Knicks or any other team – and he insists his knee issues are behind him. But it’s hard to see him getting calls for either his veteran presence or what he can do on the court.
NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony did everything he could to personally drag this woeful Knicks team to victory, and his 46 points on 16-of-26 shooting were almost enough to get the job done.
But after banking home a three-pointer over Derrick Favors to tie the game at 100 with 2.3 seconds remaining, Trey Burke hit an incredible shot from the baseline to send New York to its seventh straight loss.
Anthony was defended by Gordon Hayward for most of the night, who bulked up significantly in the offseason specifically for nights like these. But he admitted afterward that Anthony punished him in this one.
“He’s a scorer,” Hayward said. “I love playing against guys like that. It gets a little physical down there, but that’s kind of the nature of who he is. He’s hard to guard. We put multiple guys on him and it still doesn’t seem like it works.”
“I’m sore,” Hayward said of the physical battle. “I was already kind of catching a cold. To have to fight him during that is exhausting, man. He’s a hassle down there. He creates the contact, so even if you’re not really trying to, he’s right there battling you.”
Anthony was aggressive in going to the basket again and again, especially down the stretch. It’s a departure from what the Knicks have done to this point in the season — settling for a ridiculously high number of midrange jumpshots, which obviously have delivered less-than-desirable results.
“As the game went on, I just saw some holes in the defense where I could take advantage of that,” Anthony said. “I saw they were playing me one-on-one, and I felt I could take advantage down there in the post more.”
And he definitely did. It wasn’t enough, however, which means as the losses continue to pile up in New York, we can expect to see more performances like these from Anthony as he singlehandedly tries to make it stop.
“I don’t like to lose,” he said. “And tonight was just one of those games where I was trying to will our way to a win. … It was just one of them days where you’re just trying to do everything to win the game.”