Lakers’ World Peace ejected for elbow smash on Harden

Lakers’ World Peace ejected for elbow smash on Harden

LOS ANGELES - Agence France-Presse
Lakers’ World Peace ejected for elbow smash on Harden

Oklahoma City player James Harden lies on the floor after being hit by Metta World Peace of the Los Angeles Lakers during an intense match at the Staples Center. AFP photo

Los Angeles forward Metta World Peace was ejected from the Lakers’ game against Oklahoma City Sunday for elbowing unsuspecting Thunder forward James Harden in the head.

World Peace -- who legally changed his name from Ron Artest in September -- had just jammed in a dunk that pulled the Lakers within one point with less than two minutes left in the first half when the incident occurred.

He beat his chest with his fist in celebration of the dunk and turned to head for the other end of the court.

He swung his left elbow, smashing it into the head and neck of Harden, who crumpled to the floor.

Harden eventually rose and departed for the locker room. His teammates immediately went after World Peace but the officials stepped in to keep the two teams apart. Officials then slapped World Peace with a flagrant foul penalty and booted him out of the game. The flagrant foul could carry a suspension.
After a sluggish start to the season he has averaged 14 points, four rebounds and three assists in April.

The Lakers, who lead the Clippers in a race for third place in the Western Conference, erased an 18-point deficit to beat the Thunder 114-106 in double overtime.

Bryant leads LA

Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant had 26 points. Kevin Durant led Oklahoma City with 35 points, but the Thunder failed to gain any ground on San Antonio for top spot in the Western Conference.

Despite his choice of name, “Peace” hasn’t always been a hallmark of the former Artest’s career.

In 2004, he received one of the longest NBA bans in history, sitting out 86 games, for his role in a brawl with fans in which he raced into the stands in Detroit.

After the Thunder’s loss, the San Antonio Spurs’ magic number to clinch the Western Conference is just one. Manu Ginobili scored 20 points as the Spurs won their seventh straight game 114-98 against Cleveland Sunday.