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 while holding his head.
There is no way seven games is a long-enough suspension for what World Peace did. I am not saying he meant to concuss Harden, but what did he think was going to happen? 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.
World Peace had to have felt someone brush up beside him and for whatever reason his first reaction was to swing his elbow. There is no excuse for that kind of behavior on the basketball court this late into the season.
Harden, the heavy favorite to win the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award, is essential to the success of the Oklahoma City Thunder. He will have a big role in the postseason as the Thunder try to march their way into the Western Conference Finals.
This is another reason why the NBA should have come down harder on World Peace. If Harden is unable to play throughout the playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers will be one of the teams that will gain a huge advantage. Not having Harden could be the difference between the Thunder or the Lakers representing the West in the NBA Finals.
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. Meanwhile, the Lakers will be missing World Peace’s 7.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.9 steals per game.