By now, everyone is well aware of the elbow shot seen around the world. Given James Harden’s concussion after the fact, and given Metta World’s Peace’s unfortunate history, a suspension is inevitable.
The question now is: how long will the Lakers' enigmatic forward be suspended for?
Will it be something brief, like the two games that Kevin Love got this year for stepping on Luis Scola’s face? Will it be something moderately lengthy, like the four games that Andrew Bynum got for his child abuse of J.J. Barea during last year’s playoffs? Six games? Ten games?
For better or worse, several factors will be taken into account by the league that won’t bode too well for Peace. One, Harden was seriously hurt by the blow. If the Thunder’s most valuable roleplayer hadn’t wound up with a concussion from the hit, this situation wouldn’t be as bad. Two, it happened with the whole world watching in a nationally televised, afternoon ABC game. There is no way to sweep this under the rug. Three, even though he’s clearly remodeled his image over the last couple of years, everyone still remembers Peace’s greatest hits as Ron Artest. Namely the ones he delivered in the stands during the infamous Malice in the Palace.
And finally, the wariness that the sports-watching world has developed for cheap shots as of late, mostly thanks to the NHL playoffs, has left folks with little patience for this sort of situation.
That combination of factors is bad news for both Peace and his Lakers team, seeing as the first round of the playoffs is just around the corner.
On the positive side, Peace seemed legitimately sorry for what he had done when speaking with reporters after the game.
That remorsefulness should help.
The league will announce Peace’s punishment at some point before the Lakers’ Thursday showdown with the Sacramento Kings. At this point, the smart money is on it being a suspension lasting anywhere from five to ten games – effectively taking him out for at least the first round of the postseason.