Lakers Lose World Peace for Seven Games

April 24, 2012

The Los Angeles Lakers will likely lose the services of their starting small forward for their entire first round playoff series, as Metta World Peace has been suspended for seven games without pay for striking the Thunder's James Harden in the head with his elbow, the NBA announced today.

The suspension will begin with the Lakers’ next game at Sacramento on April 26.  The remaining games of the suspension will be served over the next six games in which World Peace is eligible and physically able to play, including this season’s playoffs.

Since World Peace is physically able to play, his suspension will last through Game Six of the Lakers' first round series, should such a game be necessary.  If the Lakers were to close out that series in four or five games, then the suspension would drag through to the second round.

The incident, which resulted in a Flagrant Foul Two and an ejection, occurred with 1:39 remaining in the second quarter of the Lakers’ 114-106 victory over the Thunder on April 22 at Staples Center.

“The concussion suffered by James Harden demonstrates the danger posed by violent acts of this kind, particularly when they are directed at the head area," NBA Commissioner David Stern said. "We remain committed to taking necessary measures to protect the safety of  NBA players, including the imposition of appropriate penalties for players with a history of on-court altercations."

The loss is particularly tough for LA because World Peace has been playing the best basketball of his Laker career.

Finally healthy and free of any nagging injuries, World Peace has appeared quicker and more explosive recently.  As a result, he has put up multiple double-digit scoring performances, while also displaying his trademark lockdown defense.

The Lakers will now look to Matt Barnes, Devin Ebanks, and perhaps Kobe Bryant to contribute at the 3 in World Peace's absence.

By Staff of The Daily Sports Herald and Wire Reports

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