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Metta World Peace Suspension: Past Behavior A Factor In Punishment

The NBA levied a seven-game suspension to Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, for his elbow directly to the head of Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden.

World Peace landed the elbow in the second half of the Lakers' double-overtime victory Sunday, a blow that sent Harden to the floor where he laid for a few minutes before walking off on his own power. The unintentional elbow was ruled as a flagrant 2 on World Peace, and he was ejected from the game while Harden suffered a concussion.

"The concussion suffered by James Harden demonstrates the danger posed by violent acts of this kind, particularly when they are directed at the head area," NBA commissioner David Stern said in a statement. "We remain committed to taking necessary measures to protect the safety of NBA players, including the imposition of appropriate penalties for players with a history of on-court altercations."

As the world knows, he was involved in one of the ugliest brawls in NBA history and was banned for 86 games in 2004 for jumping into the stands at the Palace of Auburn Hills during a game against the Detroit, fighting fans after a beer was tossed at him.

The suspension is another learning lesson with hopes to remind World Peace of his prior history. The playoffs are quickly upon us, and unfortunately, World Peace will miss the Lakers' regular-season finale and their first six playoff games. It's not a good time for the Lakers, and they can't afford to lose a player of his caliber. Matt Barnes, Lakers reserve small forward, won't travel to Sacramento and will nurse a sprained right ankle he suffered in Sunday's game.

This season alone, World Peace has been an instrumental piece, averaging 7.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists on 39.4 percent shooting. Late in the season, he was a beneficiary in the offense, amassing14.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists.

For more news and notes on the Lakers, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.