In what was a regular season game with a playoff atmosphere on Sunday, it wasn't surprising that the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder got chippy and physical throughout.
Losing World Peace for any amount of time in the playoffs doesn't make the Lakers' road to the Finals any easier. (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)
But things got a little too heated after Lakers forward Metta World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, vigorously threw his left elbow into Thunder forward James Harden's head with 1:37 to go in the second quarter as he was celebrating a momentous dunk to rally the team. As a result, he was hit with a flagrant 2 foul and ejected immediately from the game.
One could argue that World Peace's dunk was, in fact, momentous, and generated the spark the Lakers needed to edge out a 114-106 win in double overtime, led by Kobe Bryant, who put up another familiar clutch performance with 26 points. After all, a win such as this now puts the team one step closer from clinching its fifth straight Pacific division title.
At the same time, everyone watching the game also saw the de-evolution of World Peace, who reverted back to the Ron Artest of old, even for a slight moment. If anything, his actions took all down memory lane to 2004 when the infamous Pacers-Pistons brawl occurred with Artest jumping into the stands and getting rowdy with fans.
World Peace, Artest or whatever you want to call him, will most likely be facing a multi-game suspension that includes missing some playoff action as well. Harden, who was said to have concussion-like symptoms when he left the game after being hit, didn't return to play. It's unknown how much playing time he will miss.
Watch the video below of the hit the stole the show for the Lakers on Sunday: