Ken Berger of CBSSports.com on the World Peace suspension: “Seven games. Fair, in my opinion. The seven-game suspension handed down Tuesday for the Lakers’ Metta World Peace for elbowing Oklahoma City’s James Harden in the head sent the appropriate message that such dangerous acts cannot be tolerated. But the NBA also did something else very important: It didn’t overreact. The play I kept thinking about in mulling over the past two days how hard David Stern and Stu Jackson would come down on World Peace was Andrew Bynum’s forearm that blasted J.J. Barea out of midair during the playoffs last season. Bynum got five games for that reprehensible act, and I thought that was a fair point of reference in dishing out punishment to World Peace.”
Henry Abbott of ESPN.com: “World Peace has a body that’s a powerful weapon and has acknowledged mental health issues. I don’t think punishments are likely to extinguish the tinderbox of danger inherent in that combination, which has a track record of producing trouble. I applaud the idea that he can learn to hold it together, likely with continued professional help, but I’d hate to be David Stern explaining to Harden’s family why the two players may well share the court together again in a few weeks.”
Berry Tramel: “Whether that’s hung, drawn and quartered or merely sent to bed without his supper depends upon your address. Thunder fans will demand more — “Let Oklahoma decide!” an usher declared before the game — and nothing short of lifetime banishment would appease the Big Blue mob. But make no mistake. A seven-game suspension is stout. The Laker cuckoo bird will miss the regular-season finale at Sacramento on Thursday, then Los Angeles’ first six playoff games, provided the Lakers last that long.”
Chis Mannix of SI.com: “Hey, NBA: Pathetic. First, I understand there is precedent. Trevor Ariza got one game for swinging his elbow at DeMar Derozan in 2009. Dwight Howard got a game for just missing Samuel Dalembert’s skull with an elbow in the ’09 playoffs. In fact, a seven-game elbow-involved banishment is 3½ times longer than any penalty the league has ever assessed. You know what? I don’t care. This isn’t any punishment for any player. This is Metta World Peace, one of the most-penalized players in league history, once again letting his emotions get the best of him, once again endangering the career of another player, once again committing a violent act. History has to be taken into account, not ignored. NBA commissioner David Stern has taken great pains to clean up the league in his tenure, slapping five-figure fines on those using foul language with officials, tagging players with lengthy penalties for boorish off-the-floor behavior and handing out one- or two-game suspensions for hard fouls like Skittles. Yet World Peace skates by with seven games? Come on.
Kurt Helin of PBT: “However, this was a dangerous play that deserved more than just a game or two. This was not a basketball play — there was no play on the ball, it was as part of a celebration not some kind of game action. Then he squared up willing to fight Serge Ibaka. And there is a history with the former Ron Artest. Seven was a safe number. I think it might have been 10 games if these had been regular season games, but because six of those games will fall during the playoffs for the Lakers — where the games mean more — the league took that into consideration. The way he has played of late — 15.9 points per game on nearly 50 percent shooting the last 10 games, and he had 12 before his ejection Sunday — his absence will be felt by the Lakers.”
Sebastian Pruiti of Grantland taking a big, long look at OKC’s crunch time offense: “The Thunder do have some strong sets at the end of games — like the shallow-cut play. But those are few and far between, allowing both Durant’s and Westbrook’s weaknesses to show through. The Thunder could have won against the Lakers even without any adjustments. They could probably even win a championship playing this way. But they could make it so much easier on themselves if they executed better and played to everyone’s strengths, especially when the defense steps up come playoff time.”
Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus hands out awards: “This year, we don’t really have a Lamar Odom-type candidate who split the season between the bench and the starting five. Harden is the obvious winner here, no matter how you slice the data.”
Etan Thomas with an open letter to Derek Fisher and Billy Hunter: “I wish you two could have gone into a room, aired out whatever it is that you two needed to air out and moved on. But that didn’t happen, and honestly in that, I think both of you are at fault. I don’t know all of the details of your issues with each other, and really, I don’t want to know. It’s not my business. But as you know Derek, there are rules to every game, in every organization, and when you break those rules, there are consequences. And as a result of your actions the board has voted unanimously and I would implore you to simply bow out gracefully.”