An NBA blog from Newsday's Bobby Bonett
How will league react to World Peace's elbow?
In the second quarter of yesterday's Lakers-Thunder game, Metta World Peace landed a hard elbow on Thunder guard James Harden while celebrating an emphatic slam.
Harden fell to the court for a minute, before being helped off and into the locker room. He didn't return.
World Peace was issued a flagrant foul 2, and was ejected from the game.
In the replay, you can see the elbow hit Harden hard, and in the back of the head:
Following the game, World Peace told reporters the elbow was unintentional.
"I got real emotional and excited, and it was unfortunate that James had to get hit with the unintentional elbow," World Peace said. "I apologize to the Thunder and James Harden."
The Lakers guard was later on Twitter, and posted a pair of tweets regarding the elbow, reiterating that it was unintentional:
Hope James Hardin is ok... I remember when I hit by Marc Gasol the same way.. I was spitting up blood and a headache during the game...— Metta WorldPeace (@MettaWorldPeace) April 22, 2012
I just watched the replay again..... Oooo..My celebration of the dunk really was too much... Didn't even see James ..... Omg... Looks bad— Metta WorldPeace (@MettaWorldPeace) April 23, 2012
Watching the replay above, it seems pretty clear that World Peace knew Harden was there, and then threw an intentional elbow. The replay is so damning, in fact, that the elbow looks malicious, though that's speculation at this point.
What is certain, though, is that World Peace will be on the receiving end of some sort of punishment from the league. The NBA could take into account the extent of Harden's injury and World Peace's past on-court run-ins when issuing a suspension and/or fine. World Peace could find himself sidelined for just 5-10 games, or the league could opt to suspend for the entire playoffs, and even into next year.
How long do you think World Peace should be suspended? How long will he be suspended? Post in the comments below.
Los Angeles eventually overcame an 18-point deficit to beat the Thunder in double-overtime, 114-106. With the win, the Lakers improved to 41-24, 1/2 game clear of the Clippers for the Pacific Division title. Oklahoma City fell to 46-18, 1 1/2 games behind the Spurs for first in the West.