World Peace just wreaked carnage at Staples Center.
Lakers forward Metta World Peace decked Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden with a wild, swinging elbow to the head during the second quarter of a Sunday afternoon game in Los Angeles.
World Peace -- the artist formerly known as Ron Artest -- finished a basket in transition to cut OKC's lead to 48-47 with 1:40 remaining before halfitme. World Peace pounded his chest to celebrate as he looked to the sideline crowd and then pulled back his left arm as Harden attempted to come back towards the ball on the baseline. World Peace's left elbow swung down into Harden's head at full speed, sending him crashing to the ground and holding his head. Thunder big man Serge Ibaka came to the defense of Harden before officials intervened.
Upon video review, World Peace was assessed a Flagrant Foul 2 and was immediately ejected from the game. There's no question that World Peace will face discipline from the NBA league office for the unnecessary and dangerous flagrant foul.
"That's not a basketball play, man," Thunder All-Star forward Kevin Durant said during a halftime interview on ABC. "It's unfortunate that he hit James like that. Really can't talk too much about that one, it was tough to see... We're just going to play. We're going to play our game. We can't let that affect us. I'm sure James is alright back in the locker room. We just have to play our brand of basketball."
The Oklahoman reported during the third quarter that Harden would not return to the game after undergoing multiple evaluations and concussion tests. After the game, the paper confirmed that Harden was diagnosed with a concussion on the play and that his status for OKC's two remaining regular season games is "uncertain."
After Sunday's game against the Thunder, the Lakers have just one game remaining in their regular season: a Thursday night game against the Sacramento Kings. In other words, should World Peace be hit with a multi-game suspension, he will miss postseason action.
World Peace was suspended one game during the 2011 playoffs for clotheslining Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea. Of course, he is also well-known for his role in the so-called "Malice at the Palace," a 2004 brawl between the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons that spilled over into the stands. World Peace was suspended for the duration of the 2004-2005 season for his role in the brouhaha.
The Lakers went on to defeat the Thunder 114-106 in double overtime. With the win, the Lakers improved to 41-24, good for the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference and a one game advantage over the Los Angeles Clippers for the Pacific Division lead.
World Peace departed the game with a line of 12 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal and 3 steals on 4-for-10 shooting in 18 minutes.