The NBA: Peace Makes War

"I got really emotional, really excited. And it was unfortunate that James had to get hit with the unintentional elbow. I hope he's OK.” – Metta World Peace after elbowing James Harden in the Lakers’ win over the Thunder.

Yeah, sure. I believe you. You’re living up to your name. Awesome. Just awesome.

You know what would be more awesome, Mr. World Peace?

If you got suspended, big time.

And this is why (thanks to Scott Carefoot of The Basketball Jones):

“There will be a lot of invective unleashed as a result of Metta World Peace’s vicious elbow to James Harden’s head late in the second quarter of Sunday afternoon’s Thunder-Lakers game. The event was significant because of the teams involved, because of the players involved, and most specifically because of Metta’s history of violent, erratic behavior. If most other NBA players had thrown that elbow during a dunk celebration, people would be more likely to give them the benefit of the doubt that it wasn’t intended to connect to Harden’s head. This particular perpetrator used up his “benefit of the doubt cards” a long time ago.

From my perspective, Metta’s intent is irrelevant here and I’d feel that way no matter who threw the elbow. This wasn’t a basketball play where somebody was swinging his elbows while trying to secure a rebound. Metta irresponsibly (at best) launched his elbow to his side in a violent fashion, and Harden’s injury was a direct result of that action. It shouldn’t matter whether or not Metta meant to elbow him in the head.

The lesson that needs to be taught here is that NBA players need to be accountable for the ramifications of their actions on the court, regardless of whether they have ill intentions. If you want to celebrate after a dunk, that’s your prerogative. If your celebration causes injury to another player, you deserve a suspension just as severe as you would have received if the contact was intentional. To put it another way, you shouldn’t get to act a fool and not get called on it in this league.

To be clear, I’m not saying that players shouldn’t celebrate and pose and taunt after they make an exciting play — I love that stuff as much as anyone. But you don’t get to damn near knock an opponent out during that celebration and then get away with it on a “Whoopsie, I got carried away” technicality.

The range for the potential length of Metta’s suspension is larger than any similar event in recent NBA history. At the low end, he might get 10 games or so. At the high end, he might be permanently banned from the league. That high end might seem ridiculous to many of you, but ask yourself how safe you’d feel playing against Metta World Peace if you were an NBA player.

I don’t need to read Metta’s mind or his body language to determine if he meant to nearly decapitate James Harden with his elbow — I don’t care because it doesn’t matter. I know he’s a swell guy with a big heart off the court, but he’s a dangerous menace on the court who is more likely to end somebody’s NBA career than anyone else in this sport. I’m not advocating a permanent ban, but I won’t complain if that’s Judge Stern’s verdict.”

I agree with almost everything.

I think the league ban is a little too much, though, frankly, I wouldn’t mind too much, as well. Still, the fair thing would be Metta sitting out a few games.

I guess the same rule in school applies on the court as well: people have to be penalized if the results of their actions adversely affect themselves, their surroundings, or the people around them. Whether they mean it or not. Whether it’s because of emotions, or sheer stupidity.


After the JUMP, April 20-22, 2012 stat-stuffers:

April 20, 2012 Game Recaps:
ATL over BOS, 97-92
Joe Johnson had 30 points, six assists and five rebounds, while Josh Smith added his 27th double-double of the season with 19 points and 12 boards as the Atlanta Hawks handled the Boston Celtics, 97-92, on Friday. Kirk Hinrich, Jason Collins and Willie Green tallied eight points apiece for Atlanta, which has won seven of its last nine games. The Hawks have a 1 1/2 game lead over fourth-seeded Boston for home-court advantage in a possible Eastern Conference first-round matchup. Avery Bradley had career-high 28 points for Boston, which was without Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. Pierce and Garnett did not dress, while Rondo was not with the team to rest his injured back.

MEM over CHA, 85-80
Mike Conley had 20 points, seven assists and three steals, as the playoff-bound Memphis Grizzlies used a strong finish to beat the lowly Charlotte Bobcats, 85-80. Zach Randolph added 14 points and six rebounds for the Grizzlies, who have won three in a row and sit one game behind the idle Los Angeles Clippers for fourth place in the Western Conference. Gerald Henderson tied a career-high with 32 points for the Bobcats, who extended their franchise-record losing streak to 19 games. Byron Mullens tallied 11 points and 11 boards.

CLE over NYK, 98-90
Kyrie Irving scored 21 points on Friday and the Cavaliers downed the Knicks, 98-90. Manny Harris added 19 points and 12 rebounds for Cleveland, which halted a three-game losing streak. Samardo Samuels chipped in 15 points. Amare Stoudemire returned to the New York lineup after missing 13 straight games and scored 15 points. Steve Novak also had 15 while Carmelo Anthony finished with 12 on 5-of-13 shooting. The Knicks, who have already clinched a playoff berth, sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game ahead of the 76ers.

DAL over GSW, 104-94
Vince Carter scored 13 of his 19 points in the last quarter, helping Dallas to a 104-94 triumph over the Golden State Warriors. Brandan Wright added 17 points off the bench on 8-of-9 shooting. Dirk Nowitzki and Delonte West each had 16 points, two more than teammate Shawn Marion. The Mavericks, who are currently sixth in the Western Conference, have a one-game lead over Denver. Dallas has two games remaining, both on the road against playoff teams, Chicago and Atlanta. Klay Thompson scored 26 for the Warriors, who lost their seven straight contest. Brandon Rush netted 20 points and Dorell Wright scored 19, while Charles Jenkins tallied 10 points and 10 assists.

SAS over LAL, 121-97
Tim Duncan scored 21 points and the Spurs spoiled Kobe Bryant's return with a 121-97 rout of the Lakers on Friday. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili both added 20 points for the Spurs, who won their sixth straight and remain a half-game game ahead of Oklahoma City atop the Western Conference. The Thunder defeated the Kings on Friday. Bryant missed the previous seven games with a sore left shin. The Lakers went 5-2 over that span, but trailed by as many as 26 on Friday. They are seeded third in the West and lead the Clippers by a half-game in both the Pacific Division and the conference. Andrew Bynum scored 17 points in the setback, Bryant finished with 18 and Matt Barnes added 14.

OKC over SAC, 103-92
Kevin Durant filled the stat sheet with 29 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists and Oklahoma City took care of business against Sacramento, 103-92, on Friday. James Harden chipped in 20 points, Russell Westbrook netted 18 and Serge Ibaka finished with 12 to go with eight blocks in the Thunder's second straight win. DeMarcus Cousins led the way with 18 points and Tyrekke Evans contributed 16 as the Kings fell into a tie for the worst record in the Western Conference with their ninth loss in 10 tries.

April 21, 2012 Game Recaps:
WAS over MIA, 86-84
LeBron James and Chris Bosh sat out the game, resting for the postseason. Dwyane Wade played and got hurt. Wade lasted less than 3 minutes before dislocating his left index finger, and without their three stars Saturday night, the Heat lost 86-84 to the woeful Washington Wizards. Wade appeared to get his finger caught in another player's jersey and immediately went to the locker room grimacing in pain. He never returned. There was no immediate estimate as to how long Wade might be out, but with the playoffs beginning next weekend, the Heat will hope for a speedy recovery. He has already missed 14 games this season because of injuries; the Heat are 13-1 without him.

CHI over DAL, 93-83
Luol Deng scored 22 points, Richard Hamilton added 19 and the Bulls held off a fourth-quarter rally to beat the Mavericks. The victory by the Bulls (48-16) gave them a 2 1-2 game lead over Miami for the top seed in the Eastern Conference  playoffs. Chicago has two regular-season games left, against Indiana and Cleveland. Bulls star guard Derrick Rose returned to the lineup after sitting out three games with a right foot/ankle injury and he had 11 points with eight assists in 32 minutes. Defending NBA champion Dallas, which clinched a playoff berth on Thursday night when Houston lost, was playing the second game of a back-to-back, so veteran guards Jason Kidd and Jason Terry sat out to rest. Dirk Nowitzki scored 17 points and Rodrigue Beaubois, starting in place of Kidd, added 16 - 10 in the final quarter.

DEN over PHX, 118-107
Ty Lawson went 5 of 5 on 3-pointers and had 29 points and 10 assists to lead Denver to a victory over the Suns that clinched a playoff berth for the Nuggets. The Suns fell a half-game behind Utah for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Jazz played at home against Orlando on Saturday night. Phoenix plays at Utah on Tuesday and holds the tiebreaker over the Jazz. Steve Nash of the Suns had 13 assists, nine in the first quarter, and passed Oscar Robertson into fifth place on the NBA's career list. The Suns lost Channing Frye to a shoulder injury in the second quarter. Shannon Brown scored 28 points for Phoenix, including a career-best 6 3s.

HOU over GSW, 99-96
Courtney Lee scored 20 points, Goran Dragic added 18 points and seven assists and the Rockets snapped a six-game losing streak with a win over the Warriors. Luis Scola had 13 points and Chase Budinger added 11 for the Rockets, who came into the game in the 10th spot in the Western Conference, one game behind Utah and Phoenix. Houston went 10 for 26 from 3-point range to snap a four-game home losing streak and beat the Warriors for the 14th time in the last 16 meetings. Klay Thompson scored 24 points and Brandon Rush added 19 for the Warriors, who have lost eight straight and 20 of their last 24.

MIL over NJN, 106-95
Brandon Jennings scored 30 points to lead the Bucks to a victory over the Nets that kept their slim playoff hopes alive. Jennings, who hit three straight 3-pointers late in the game, was 9 of 18 from the field and finished with six rebounds, six assists and four steals. Ersan Ilyasova added 17 points and 17 rebounds for the Bucks, who snapped a three-game losing streak and beat New Jersey for the 11th straight time. Philadelphia won in overtime at Indiana, meaning the 76ers' magic number is down to one to clinch the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Milwaukee trails Philadelphia by three games with three games left, including one against the 76ers on Wednesday. Gerald Wallace finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds for New Jersey, which hasn't beaten Milwaukee since March 3, 2009.

PHI over IND, 106-106 (OT)
Elton Brand scored 20 points and Lou Williams added 19 to help the 76ers beat the Pacers in overtime, stopping Indiana's winning streak at seven games. Jrue Holiday scored 17 points and Andre Iguodala added 16 for the 76ers, who inched closer to clinching a playoff berth. The 76ers left the game needing just a win or a loss by Milwaukee to clinch a spot. David West had a season-high 32 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Indiana. Tyler Hansbrough scored 17 points and Paul George added 16 for the Pacers, who could have locked up the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference with a win. Danny Granger, Indiana's top scorer this season, had four points on 2-for-12 shooting.

MEM over POR, 93-89
Rudy Gay scored 21 points and had a key block in the final seconds as the Memphis Grizzlies won their fourth straight, over the Trail Blazers. Gay, who was 9 of 16 from the field, blocked Wesley Matthews' 3-point attempt with about 5 seconds left to seal the win and send the short-handed Trail Blazers to their fifth straight loss. O.J. Mayo scored 14 points for Memphis and Marreese Speights had 13 with Marc Gasol and Dante Cunningham both adding 12. J.J. Hickson scored 23 points to lead Portland, while Jamal Crawford had 21.

April 22, 2012 Game Recaps:
NYK over ATL, 113-112
Carmelo Anthony scored a game-high 39 points, including the go-ahead bucket, and the New York Knicks held on for a 113-112 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday. Anthony added 10 rebounds, Amare Stoudemire donated 22 points and 12 boards and Baron Davis contributed 13 points to go with 10 assists. Each starter scored in double-digits for the Knicks, who have won three of four. Marvin Williams led Atlanta with a season-high 29 points as well as 11 rebounds. Jeff Teague supplied 23 points and Joe Johnson had 22 but it was not enough for the Hawks, who saw a three-game winning streak snapped. Atlanta and New York remain in the fifth and seventh positions, respectively, in the Eastern Conference.

LAL over OKC, 114-106 (2OT)
Kobe Bryant scored 26 points on Sunday and the Lakers overcame a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit to down the Thunder, 114-106, in double overtime. The Lakers, seeded third in the Western Conference, were down by 17 in the fourth before eventually reclaiming the lead on Bryant's one-footed running three-pointer with 1:21 remaining in regulation. The Lakers hold a half-game advantage over the Clippers for the Pacific Division lead and the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. Bryant had six points in the second overtime while Pau Gasol finished with 20 points and 14 boards and Jordan Hill scored 14. Metta World Peace had 12 points before being ejected in the second quarter for violently elbowing Thunder guard James Harden in the side of the head. Kevin Durant scored 35 points to pace Oklahoma City, which fell 1 1/2 games behind San Antonio for the top spot in the West.

James Harden is sprawled on the floor after being
elbowed by Metta World Peace.
(image by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

SAC over CHA, 114-88
DeMarcus Cousins had 29 points and 10 rebounds as the Sacramento Kings downed the lowly Charlotte Bobcats, 114-88, at Time Warner Cable Arena. Tyreke Evans added 22 points while Jason Thompson contributed 14 points, 11 rebounds and five steals for the Kings, who had lost nine of their last 10 games entering Sunday's contest. Derrick Brown, Byron Mullens and Kemba Walker each scored 13 points for Charlotte, which extended its franchise-record losing streak to 20 games.

MIA over HOU, 97-88
LeBron James scored 32 points as the Miami Heat downed the Houston Rockets, 97-88, in their regular-season home finale on Sunday. James finished with eight rebounds and five assists and Norris Cole contributed 16 points as Miami closed out the regular season with a 28-5 record at home, which will at least tie for the best in the NBA. Heat stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were sidelined. Wade is day-to-day with a left index finger dislocation he suffered on Saturday against Washington while Bosh continues to rest at the tail end of a bruising season. Chandler Parsons netted a career-high 23 points for the Rockets and Goran Dragic donated 16, but Houston's slim playoff hopes came to an end with their seventh loss in eight tries.

DET over TOR, 76-73
Ben Gordon scored 15 points in the fourth quarter and finished the game with 19 points as the Pistons beat the Raptors, 76-73, at the Palace of Auburn Hills on Sunday. Brandon Knight poured in 19 points as well and Greg Monroe ripped down 17 rebounds to snap Detroit's three-game losing streak. DeMar DeRozan paced the Raptors with 16 points and Linas Kleiza chipped in 12 as Toronto fell for the seventh time in nine games.

GSW over MIN, 93-88
Brandon Rush drained the go-ahead three- pointer with 1:09 to go in the game and the Golden State Warriors recovered from a 21-point second-quarter deficit to stun the Minnesota Timberwolves, 93-88, at Target Center on Sunday. Charles Jenkins poured in a game-high 24 points to go with six rebounds and nine assists, Rush ended his night with 19 points and nine rebounds, and Klay Thompson contributed 17 points for the Warriors, who snapped an eight-game skid. Dominic McGuire and Richard Jefferson donated 12 and 10 points, respectively, in the win. Nikola Pekovic led the way for the Timberwolves with 19 points and 16 rebounds. Martell Webster added 18 points, while Anthony Randolph and J.J. Barea finished with 14 points apiece for the T'Wolves, who have dropped 12 of their last 13 games.

SAS over CLE, 114-98
Manu Ginobili scored 20 points, while Stephen Jackson added 17 as the San Antonio Spurs won their seventh straight game with a 114-98 decision over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. DeJuan Blair had 15 points and seven boards for San Antonio, which has won 18 of its last 20 contests. The Spurs' magic number to clinch the top seed in the Western Conference is just one as a result of Oklahoma City's loss to the Lakers earlier on Sunday. Antawn Jamison netted 21 points for the Cavaliers, who have lost four of their last five games. Kyrie Irving added 19 points.

DEN over ORL, 101-74
JaVale McGee had 17 points, eight rebounds and three blocks, while Danilo Gallinari added 17 points and seven boards as the Denver Nuggets routed the Orlando Magic, 101-74, on Sunday. Ty Lawson provided 13 points and 10 assists, and Andre Miller dished out 11 helpers for the Nuggets, winners in six of their past eight games. Aaron Afflalo netted 15 points. The Nuggets had a colossal 64-24 points in the paint advantage. Denver is a half-game ahead of idle Dallas for the sixth seed in the Western Conference with two road tilts remaining against Oklahoma City and Minnesota. Ryan Anderson finished with 24 points and nine boards for Orlando, which needs one victory over its last two contests to clinch the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Magic play Charlotte at home and Memphis on the road to close the regular season.

LAC over NOH, 107-98
Chris Paul scored 13 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter as the Los Angeles Clippers rallied past the New Orleans Hornets, 107-98, at Staples Center. Paul added 13 assists and eight steals, while Randy Foye had 24 points and Blake Griffin contributed 21 points and 15 rebounds for the Clippers, who kept pace with the Lakers for the top spot in the Pacific Division and third seed in the Western Conference after the Lakers defeated the Thunder in double overtime earlier Sunday. The Lakers hold a half-game lead over their Los Angeles counterparts. The Clippers have two games left, while the Lakers have one game remaining. Eric Gordon scored 17 points, Al-Farouq Aminu netted 14 and Jason Smith finished with 13 for New Orleans, which lost for the second time in three games.

Super Scorers (Top scorers of the night!)
April 20: Gerald Henderson (CHA) – 32
April 21: David West (IND) – 32
April 22: Carmelo Anthony (NYK) – 39

Ragin’ Rebounders (Top rebounders of the night!)
April 20: Kevin Durant (OKC) – 14
April 21: Ersan Ilyasova (MIL) – 17
April 22: Greg Monroe (DET) – 17

Dynamic Dishers (Top playmakers of the night!)
April 20: Tony Parker (SAS) & Charles Jenkins (GSW) – 10
April 21: John Wall (WAS) & Steve Nash (PHX) – 13
April 22: Chris Paul (LAC) – 13

Terrific Thieves (Top thieves of the night!)
April 20: Avery Bradley (BOS) & Marquis Daniels (BOS) – 4
April 21: Too many with 4!!!
April 22: Chris Paul (LAC) – 8

Boomin’ Blockers (Top blockers of the night!)
April 20: Serge Ibaka (OKC) – 8
April 21: Too many with 3!!!
April 22: Serge Ibaka (OKC) – 7

Sharpshooters (Top 3-point shooters of the night!)
April 20: Steve Novak (NYK) – 5
April 21: Shannon Brown (PHX) – 6
April 22: Randy Foye (LAC) – 6

April 20, 2012 First Five
C – Tim Duncan (SAS) – 21pts, 8rebs, 3asts, 3stls, 2blks
F – Kevin Durant (OKC) – 29pts, 14rebs, 7asts, 1stl, 1blk
F – Josh Smith (ATL) – 19pts, 12rebs, 3blks, 3stls, 2asts
G – Joe Johnson (ATL) – 30pts, 6asts, 5rebs, 3 treys, 2stls, 1blk
G – Gerald Henderson (CHA) – 32pts, 4asts, 3rebs, 2stls

Honorable Mention:
Brandon Rush (GSW) – 20pts, 8rebs, 2asts, 2blks, 1stl
Avery Bradley (BOS) – 28pts, 4stls, 3asts, 1reb
Manu Ginobili (SAS) – 20pts, 7asts, 6rebs, 3 treys

April 21, 2012 First Five
C – Al Jefferson (UTA) – 21pts, 10rebs, 3blks, 2asts, 1stl
F – David West (IND) – 32pts, 12rebs, 2stls, 1ast, 1blk
F – Kenneth Faried (DEN) – 18pts, 14rebs, 3blks, 2asts, 1stl
G – Ty Lawson (DEN) – 29pts, 10asts, 5 treys, 4rebs, 1stl
G – Brandon Jennings (MIL) – 30pts, 6rebs, 6asts, 4stls, 3 treys

Honorable Mention:
Ersan Ilyasova (MIL) – 17pts, 17rebs, 3asts, 3stls, 2blks
Shannon Brown (PHX) – 28pts, 6rebs, 6 treys, 3stls, 2blks, 1ast
Jameer Nelson (ORL) – 23pts, 11asts, 3 treys, 1reb, 1stl

April 22, 2012 First Five
C – DeMarcus Cousins (SAC) – 29pts, 10rebs, 2asts, 2blks, 1stl
F – Carmelo Anthony (NYK) – 39pts, 10rebs, 3 treys, 2asts, 2stls
F – Marvin Williams (ATL) – 29pts, 11rebs, 4 treys, 3blks, 1stl
G – LeBron James (MIA) – 32pts, 8rebs, 5asts, 2blks, 1stl
G – Chris Paul (LAC) – 33pts, 13asts, 8stls, 4rebs

Honorable Mention:
Pau Gasol (LAL) – 20pts, 14rebs, 9asts, 2stls, 1blk
Charles Jenkins (GSW) – 24pts, 9asts, 6rebs
Chandler Parsons (HOU) – 23pts, 6rebs, 4stls, 3 treys, 2asts, 1blk

*Game recaps were compiled and compressed from the Sports Network.
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Metta...World...PPPPPPPPPUNCH! (Do it in Kevin Harlan's voice)