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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The punishment for this blow will be severe. It has to be. It better be.
There is no logical explanation for the wicked elbow Metta World Peace delivered to James Harden with 1:37 to play before halftime of the Lakers-Thunder game.
Even if the player formerly known as Ron Artest pleaded temporary insanity, it would explain the foolishness he unleashed on an unsuspecting Harden after his fast-break dunk. The chest pounding celebration is one thing. But hauling back with and unleashing that elbow on a totally unsuspecting Harden has all of the elements of a player gone completely off the edge, even if it was just a momentary lapse.
And I don’t want to hear that it was just playoff intensity and that MWP didn’t mean to swing his elbow the way he did and smash it into the side of Harden’s head. Whatever his intention, the result was dreadful. And it’s not a joking matter. If Harden was knocked unconscious no one would be joking about this on Twitter.
There is no overreaction to a shot like this. There is no other context that needs to be understood. The video (above, in slow mow and from a couple of different angles) says it all. And I’d say the same if Pau Gasol or Matt Barnes had thrown that elbow. There’s no place for it outside of the UFC.
That’s why the penalty should be swift and severe, at least a vacation for the remainder of the regular season … for starters!