World Peace suspended seven games

Lakers forward Metta World Peace has been suspended for seven games by the NBA for swinging an elbow that connected with the head of Oklahoma City guard James Harden in last Sunday’s game.

World Peace will miss the Lakers’ regular-season finale Thursday at Sacramento and their first six playoff games, if the Lakers get that far, the NBA announced Tuesday. He  also will forfeit $347,849 in salary.

It marks the 10th time since 2003 that World Peace has been suspended by the league.

The Lakers issued the following statement from general manager Mitch Kupchak following the NBA’s announcement:

“Metta has for the most part been a model citizen both on and off the court since joining the Lakers. Still, his most recent lapse in judgment is not to be condoned or accepted.  His actions could have seriously injured another player, and his absence during this suspension will hurt our team as well. While we accept the league’s decision, we will be supportive of Metta and try to help him be more professional on the court.”

World Peace was ejected from the Lakers’ 114-106 double-overtime victory when he aggressively thumped his chest after dunking and then threw an out-of-control left elbow at Harden, who was unable to continue in the game because of what was later determined to be a concussion.

In the chaos immediately after the incident, World Peace struck a pose almost like a boxer as Kevin Durant and teammate Serge Ibaka angrily approached him near midcourt. Referees had to step between them.

And now the NBA has added to World Peace’s problems, and those of the Lakers.

LA could be further short-handed at small forward because Matt Barnes sustained a sprained ankle in the second quarter of Sunday’s game. He had treatment on the ankle Tuesday but he will not travel with the team and is expected to miss Thursday’s regular-season finale.

–Mike Bresnahan