World Peace celebrated like a mad man after he converted a dunk with 1:39 left in the second quarter of the Lakers overtime victory over the Thunder. After pounding his chest with his right fist, he elbowed a nearby Harden in the back of the head. Harden fell to the ground instantly and was later diagnosed with a concussion.
There are so many things wrong with this scenario it is not even funny. There is no reason to be celebrating like World Peace did as the game was still in the first half and it was not even that great of a dunk. If he slammed it down with authority like LeBron James, that is one thing, but he didn’t so there is no reason to be reacting as he did. Also, I realize World Peace probably did not mean to concuss Harden, but he had to know someone was brushing up against him. He is an aggressive person and his first reaction was to swing his elbow.
The NBA is still reviewing the incident and has not made any official ruling on what World Peace’s punishment will be. The assumption is it will be anywhere from a few games suspension to missing the rest of the season. All major sports are trying to crack down on head injuries so there is a good chance the NBA will come down hard and suspend World Peace for the rest of this season.
Harden is the heavy favorite to win the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award and is essential to the success of the Thunder in the playoffs. This is another reason why the NBA must come down hard on World Peace. Oklahoma City without Harden could be the difference in what team represents the Western Conference in the NBA Finals between the Thunder and Lakers.
In 62 games this season Harden is averaging 16.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.0 steals per game while shooting 49.1 percent from the field. Oklahoma City will re-evaluate him on Tuesday to see what his status will be for the postseason.