We were lucky enough that the game became one of the best of the year going into two overtimes with the Lakers winning 114-106. It let us forget momentarily about the Metta World Peace elbow on James Harden.
It was a horrible scene and simply inexplicable. World Peace became Ron Artest again for that moment. He seemed to completely forget where he was and what he was doing. That can happen to crazy people which he most certainly is.
World Peace was immediately ejected and will face a suspension for sure. If it is something like 10 games then his return could be during a potential second round matchup between the Thunder and Lakers.
Harden is going to be evaluated by the NBA before he is cleared to return. The blow was extremely forceful and concussion-like symptoms seem likely.
Here are the Thunder players’ reactions to the play.
Russell Westbrook: “I didn’t really see what happened. I just saw James got hit in the head. I just saw the ending of it. That’s all I saw. I haven’t seen a replay, but I’m pretty sure I’ll see it. That’s going to be on TV.”
Kevin Durant: “I couldn’t really get a good look at it. I’m just happy my teammate’s all right. It was a bad play. Hopefully Ron didn’t do it intentionally or have any malicious intentions on that. But it is what it is. We got to move past that. (Harden) felt good. Obviously, we had to make sure he was all right going down the line. Our trainers and stuff do a great job and we believe in them 100 percent. I’m looking forward to James being back out there.”
Kendrick Perkins: “Actions were taken. The consequences were there. It was a Flagrant 2 and he got thrown out of the game. It happens. Sometimes it’s an intense game. Metta World Peace, he’s a good dude so I know he wouldn’t try to hurt nobody. It happens and we just hope to have James back for the next game.”
Thabo Sefolosha: “During the review I saw it. Stupid play. Stupid play. We don’t need that.”
Scott Brooks: “It was a bad play. There’s no way around it. It’s a dangerous play. It’s not a play that should be involved in basketball. And it’s unfortunate it happened. I know Ron, but unfortunately it did happen. You can’t do that. That’s unacceptable.”
Kobe Bryant: “I can’t speculate (how many games),” Bryant said. “I’m sure he’ll have some type of a suspension. And James, I hope he’s OK. I haven’t heard anything about how he’s doing, but he’s one of my favorite players in the league, one of my young boys, so I hope he’s doing all right.”
Here’s what Metta World Peace said via Twitter: “I just watched the replay again….. Oooo.. My celebration of the dunk really was too much… Didn’t even see James ….. Omg… Looks bad.”
Not sure how World Peace thinks we’re going to believe this was an innocent act.