Metta World Peace, James Harden remain physical

When it comes to sequels, rarely do they come out as compelling as the original.

Oh, there are some exceptions. Godfather II, Terminator II, Empire Strikes Back and Dark Knight come to mind. But they are not the rule. The same case applies to the chippiness between Lakers forward Metta World Peace and Thunder guard James Harden.

Of course it’s a good thing nothing has topped World Peace’s vicious elbow on April 22 that gave Harden a concussion and led to a seven-game suspension for World Peace. But through two games in the Western Conference semifinals, it’s obvious it’s carried over albeit to a smaller degree.

There’s the universal booing fans at Chesapeake Energy Arena give World Peace whenever he touches the ball. But there’s the play, too. In the Lakers’ 119-90 Game 1 loss Monday to Oklahoma City, World Peace sent Harden to the ground after trying to prevent him from boxing out. Once World Peace was called for a foul, Harden looked at the official, nodded his head toward World Peace and rolled his eyes.


There were more theatrics in Game 2.

Late in the first quarter, Harden drove past World Peace with a behind-the-back dribble near midcourt. As he did that, Harden gave an inadvertent elbow to World Peace in the face, causing him to hold his left eye. Minutes later World Peace did what TNT announcers Kevin Harlan and Reggie Miller thought looked like something a WWE wrestler would pull. World Peace appeared to clothesline Nick Collison, which knocked over Harden like a bowling pin. Somehow, none of the officials noticed.

The Thunder fans noticed, though. Regardless of whether Miller is correct that these incidents happened “totally by accident,” they’re not as captivating as the original. For once, that’s a good thing.


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