Owners of Los Angeles Lakers tickets just hope that their team gets past the first round so that they would be able to see Metta World Peace play again. He was suspended for seven games by the NBA after committing a Flagrant 2 Foul during their previous game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Ironically, what Metta World Peace did on James Harden during their April 22 game wasn’t a sign of peaceful things. The player formerly known as Ron Artest delivered a vicious elbow on the back of the head of Harden that struck the Thunder player down on the floor for a few minutes. Harden suffered concussion after the hit and missed their game against the Sacramento Kings on April 24. He would be re-evaluated before Oklahoma City’s regular season finale on April 25 at Denver.
The elbow incident happened during the second of the quarter of the Lakers-Thunder showdown in Staples Center. World Peace was able to score off a fast break to draw his team within one, 48-47, with 1:39 left in the first half. After throwing down a dunk, World Peace was on his way back up the court when he started beating his chest to celebrate. Harden was behind World Peace when the incident happened. The game was stopped for several minutes to separate the players from both teams who were arguing about the play. The Flagrant call was given after a review on the video monitor. He was also ejected from the game.
The 32-year-old World Peace argued that it was an accident and he was only pumped up after making a huge play to keep their team within striking distance. The 12-year-veteran has not spoken about the incident to the media but offered a brief statement on his website: “I apologize to the Oklahoma City Thunder fans and the OKC organization. I look foward to getting back on the floor with my teammates and competing for the Lakers’ fans.”
Due to the suspension, World Peace would miss the regular season finale of the Lakerson April 26 against Sacramento and perhaps the entire first round of the playoffs. If the Lakers’ first round series goes to the maximum seven games, World Peace would still be able to suit up for his first game of the 2012 playoffs. In case that Los Angeles makes an early exit, World Peace would serve the remaining suspended games next season. The former Defensive Player of the Year would lose almost $350,000 in salary if he serves the entire suspension this season.
World Peace’s suspension would put the Lakers in a bind. During Kobe Bryant’s absence in April, he had some of his finest games offensively whether as a scorer or a facilitator. His ability to hit the big shots during fourth quarters would also be missed. Perhaps the biggest impact of the suspension to the Lakers is his defense. He is easily the most versatile defender for the team since he can defend multiple positions.
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