Metta World Peace insisted Wednesday he did not “lose it” when he elbowed James Harden of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the head giving him a concussion during the Lakers’ double-overtime victory Sunday afternoon at Staples Center.
World Peace also said he reached out to Harden through a third party and was happy to learn he was OK. Harden couldn’t continue in Sunday’s game and did not play in the Thunder’s contest Tuesday against the Sacramento Kings.
“We’re probably going to see each other in the playoffs, potentially, so I didn’t want to do any direct calls. Stay competitive,” World Peace said after the Lakers’ practice. “Through a friend, they said he was doing OK. …
“It was a brutal elbow. When I seen it (on a replay), I was, like, ugh, immediately.”
The NBA suspended World Peace for seven games, including Thursday’s regular-season finale against the Kings in Sacramento. He could be done for the season if the Lakers lose a first-round playoff series against either Dallas or Denver.
World Peace expressed surprise at the length of his 14th career suspension during the latest edition of his podcast, which was released Wednesday. He declined to repeat his comments when reporters asked him about it after the Lakers’ practice, however.
“I should say what’s on my mind, but I don’t want to make any excuses right now,” he said. “It’s no time for excuses. If I start talking about that, I’m going to open myself up to excuses. It’s hard for me to speak about the (number of) games (of the ban).”
He went on to describe what happened on the play before he struck Harden.
“I was just way too emotional,” he said. “There was a lot of passion involved, but it was erratic. It was way too much. Definitely wasn’t meant to hit him how I hit him. That’s the best way I could describe those sequence of plays and that erratic passion. …
“Who can write up a left-hand dunk and then all of a sudden somebody is right behind you? It’s hard to draw that up and to play something like that. It was just the worst timing for me. The way I’m feeling right now, (I’m) back to that elite level.
“It’s funny because a lot of guys that was able to guard me early (in the season), they have no chance now. They can’t guard me. My game’s feeling great. It’s just the worse timing for me right now, but I’m happy that James is OK.”