James Harden and Serge Ibaka thrived in the first half, leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 52-47 halftime lead over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday afternoon at Staples Center. The Lakers fell behind by as many as 11 points before making a second quarter run to get back in the game, but the talk of the half was an elbow by Metta World Peace in the closing minutes.
Harden scored 14 points off the bench, but had to leave with 1:37 remaining in the second quarter after catching an elbow from World Peace after the Lakers small forward had a slam dunk to cut the Thunder lead to just one point. World Peace was given a flagrant two foul, which came with an automatic ejection.
A suspension seems likely for the former Ron Artest, which could include missing playoff games since there is only one regular season game remaining after Sunday.
The timing was unfortunate because World Peace led the Lakers comeback and led the team with 12 points and five rebounds in 18 first half minutes. Kobe Bryant scored five points on 2-of-7 shooting for the Lakers, who shot 41.3% (19 for 46) from the field.
Ibaka had 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting and seven rebounds in the first half, and Kevin Durant had 14 points and four rebounds for the Thunder, who shot 41.9% (18 for 43) in the opening half.
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