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April 25, 2012

The LA Lakers defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder in double OT

The Lakers won over the Thunder but what made the headlines was Metta World Peace's vicious hit against James Harden

By Stephen Lars

To win at the Staples Center against the LA Lakers, one needs to arrive with a very solid and well-synced squad. At 46-18 for the season, the Oklahoma City Thunder had held the best record in the Western Conference for most of the season. With truly brilliant performances from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook the Thunder had been able to defeat most every team in the league. But recently, these two have been off-target and that has cost them plenty. Against the LA Lakers, Westbrook and Durant combined to miss 42 of their 56 shots of the night. Holding those numbers while playing against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers could easily explain how the Thunder went from holding an 11-point lead with 4 minutes left to play in regulation, to a 114-106 loss in double overtime. 

Kobe Bryant scored six of his 26 points of the match in second overtime to really turn things around.

Kobe Bryant scored six of his 26 points of the match in second overtime to really turn things around. This could have been quite a heroic win for the Lakers. Consider for a moment that the home team was down by as many as 18 points after the halftime break, still the Lakers kept on fighting with solid performances from the Spaniard Pau Gasol, who finished with 20 points, 14 rebounds and 9 assists, and an unusual starting lineup that included David Ebanks, Jordan Hill and the replacement point guard, Steve Black who came in to replace Metta World Peace when he was ejected for a vicious hit. It could had been a great performance for the Lakers but Metta tarnished the win.

The NBA Players are getting a little hot-tempered towards the end of the season. The bewildering aspect of this new violent outburst is that it comes at a moment when most teams really don’t have much left to fight for. Most of the Playoffs spots have already been filled and few players are going to get the benefit of the doubt. And that goes particularly well for one Metta World Peace. It doesn’t really matter if he legally changed his name to something both ridiculous and sympathetic. At the end of the day, we all know that when he lifted up his elbow late in the second quarter, and after a celebrating gesture for a dunk, smashed his left elbow against the back of James Harden’s head, he is just adding up to the list of violent fouls made by the athlete formerly known as Ron Artest. This was a vicious, wrongfully intentioned blow against a rival. And for what it’s worth, whatever punishment is given out by the NBA Commissioner, it should extend into the Playoffs, when it really is going to matter. 

For the Thunder, Durant finished with 35 points, but it came from 11-for-34 shooting. Serge Ibaka leaded Oklahoma’s efforts with 18 points, 14 rebounds and 7 blocks. Westbrook had 14 points on 3-for-22 shooting and 10 assists. With this loss, the Thunder have now fallen one whole game behind the San Antonio Spurs. This is actually Oklahoma’s third loss in their last 9 games. After the hit, James Harden returned briefly to the bench, but didn’t play again. Harden had scored 14 points before Metta’s elbow knocked him out of the game.

About the Author

Stephen Lars is a prominent sports blogger and currently covers the Sports news, previews and handicaps for the BetIAS Sportsbook. You may reprint this article in its full content, please note no modifications to it are accepted.