Metta World Peace Suspended Seven Games
The NBA has suspended Metta World Peace of the Los Angeles Lakers for seven games for his violent elbow thrown at the head of Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden.
In a release issued on Tuesday night, the NBA has clarified that Peace will miss the Lakers’ final regular season game against the Sacramento Kings and the next six “in which the player is eligible and physically able to play, including this season’s playoffs.”
“The concussion suffered by James Harden demonstrates the danger posed by violent acts of this kind, particularly when they are directed at the head area,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said. “We remain committed to taking necessary measures to protect the safety of NBA players, including the imposition of appropriate penalties for players with a history of on-court altercations.”
To put the punishment into perspective, Andrew Bynum received five games for his flagrant foul on Dallas Mavericks’ guard J.J. Barea in the playoffs. That was eventually reduced to four because of the truncated schedule.
Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Jason Smith of the New Orleans Hornets both received two games apiece for their respective ugly plays during the regular season (stepping on Luis Scola and body-checking Blake Griffin).
Peace, as Ron Artest, clearly has some history that weighed in on the decision by the NBA. His incident in Detroit was many years ago now and his record is relatively clean since then, but this wasn’t the first time Peace has taken a wrong turn.
Losing the final game of the regular season shouldn’t be significant for the Lakers although technically it could lead to the Lakers dropping to the fourth seed if the Los Angeles Clippers win out.
It would appear the Lakers will remain at three with either the Dallas Mavericks or Denver Nuggets as the first-round opponent. Peace will be absent for at least four games and up to three of the second-round series should the Lakers advance.
The Lakers are suddenly thin at small forward with Matt Barnes working through a moderately sprained ankle. Devin Ebanks dropped a weight on the fingers of his non-shooting hand. His status remains unclear.
“Metta has for the most part been a model citizen both on and off the court since joining the Lakers,” said Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak in a released statement. “Still, his most recent lapse in judgment is not to be condoned or accepted. His actions could have seriously injured another player, and his absence during this suspension will hurt our team as well. While we accept the league’s decision, we will be supportive of Metta and try to help him be more professional on the court.”
Time will tell if losing Peace for six potential playoff games proves crippling for the Lakers.