LOS ANGELES (AP) — Metta World Peace scored a team-leading 18 points during what might have been his final home game for the Lakers, and Los Angeles extended its late-season winning streak to five games with a 108-96 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night.
World Peace made his 840th career NBA start and hit four 3-pointers while scoring all of his points in the second half, thrilling his younger teammates and setting off chants of his name from the Staples Center crowd.
Although he hasn’t announced his retirement, the 37-year-old veteran of 17 NBA seasons got several standing ovations down the stretch.
Cheick Diallo scored 19 points for the Pelicans, who lost their fifth straight while playing without big men Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins.
Davis sat for a second straight game with a sore left knee, and Cousins missed his third straight game with heel tendinitis.
Brandon Ingram and Jordan Clarkson had 15 points apiece for the Lakers (26-55), whose late-season surge has pushed them past Phoenix in the overall NBA standings and left them assured of finishing with the league’s third-worst record.
If the pingpong balls don’t give Los Angeles one of the top three picks in the draft lottery on May 16, the Lakers will lose their first-round selection to Philadelphia under the terms of their trade for Steve Nash five years ago. If they lose this pick, they’ll also lose their 2019 first-round pick to Orlando.
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