METTA WORLD PEACE damaged more than Oklahoma City’s James Harden’s head when he lashed out with a stray elbow last week.
The Lakers player also cost his team their starting small forward for at least six playoff games while he serves his 10th suspension in as many years.
The NBA suspended World Peace – formerly Ron Artest – for seven games on Tuesday for the blow that caused Harden to leave the game with a concussion.
World Peace was ejected from Sunday’s game against the Thunder for striking Oklahoma City’s top reserve. He claimed the blow was an accidental, overzealous celebration of a dunk, yet looking at the evidence it’s difficult to believe:
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World Peace will miss the Lakers’ season finale at Sacramento and the Lakers’ next six games.
The playoffs start Saturday, and Los Angeles is likely to be the Western Conference’s third seed and, with Oklahoma City at number two, it could mean both clubs could meeting in the second round, right after World Peace’s suspension ends.
World Peace still hasn’t answered media questions about his actions, but he issued a brief statement on his website, promising to follow up with a podcast.
“I apologizse to the Oklahoma City Thunder fans and the OKC organization,” World Peace wrote on ronartest.com. “I look foward (sic) to getting back on the floor with my teammates and competing for the Lakers fans.”
Additional reporting by Associated Press.