Metta World Peace is, as always, under scrutiny for some of his more physical play. He elbowed Kenneth Faried in the head the other night, a play that was upgraded to a Flagrant 2 postgame. George Karl in pregame media Friday called the move "premeditated."
World Peace then spoke to reporters and decided to talk a little bit about the issues of physicality in the NBA. First up, he says people are too tough on Dwight Howard in-game:
"Dwight gets fouled a lot intentionally. Dwight goes up, they push him in the back," World Peace said. "Is it an intentional foul or not? Because y'all aren't looking for those things unless it's brought to your attention.
"I'm not complaining. Those are intentional fouls. He's getting hurt. He got hurt when he got pushed in Orlando [last season]. These guys are coming down on his back. He had to get surgery as a result of that. And he misses games. He's not complaining. He's a little upset but he goes out there and plays. And those [fouls] are multiple occasions."
And then the man formerly known as Ron Artest said his play comes from watching the physical style of the '90s.
"It's not like I (brought) this aggression to the league," World Peace said. "I didn't invent this. This is what we watched. This is what we saw. The Bill Laimbeers and the (Dennis) Rodmans. They played hard. And they wasn't trying to hurt nobody. They just played hard. They played with passion. And we grew up wanting to play with passion. So when guys say we're dirty, we're just playing hard, man. We're not playing dirty. We're just playing, we're reacting, we're going hard. We want to win."
The problem is that MWP gives elbows in situations where there's no contest being made. It's not part of the game, it's just him giving pain, like the Harden play last year. The Lakers need a player willing to give that, though, especially this season.
Does he toe the line in terms of physical approach? Absolutely. But that would be OK if he didn't then make the unnecessary and excessive plays he sometimes does. It's hard to defend him as "just playing hard" when he's instigating fights with elbows that can legitimately hurt players outside the course of play.
You can play with passion and not give anyone a concussion. This isn't even about the Malice at the Palace; it's just about controlling your arms. Playing physical is good; ask the Pacers. But sometimes he takes it too far, and that's when he loses control, and there are consequences for that.