Remember that vicious elbow that Metta World Peace delivered to the head of James Harden late in the regular season? It appears that Harden, despite being concussed on the play, does too.
During Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinal series between his Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers, the NBA's most potent reserve landed an elbow of his own to World Peace's head. While the key baskets that Harden scored as the Thunder rallied past the Lakers late in Game 2 may ultimately lead to a more meaningful measure of vengeance, the elbow probably won't hurt in the regard.
Late in the first quarter of Game 2, Harden eluded World Peace with a nifty behind-the-back dribble out near midcourt. As Harden blew by, he caught World Peace flush in the face with his left elbow. The shot seemed to stun World Peace momentarily as Harden freed himself up for a foray into the paint.
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Several minutes later, World Peace struck back, taking out Harden and teammate Nick Collison with what is perhaps best described as a clothesline move.
Were these two plays related to one another? Did World Peace bowl over Harden and Collison because of the elbow he'd taken to the face earlier? And did Harden reach out and crack someone because of what was done to him not too long ago? It can be extremely tricky trying to read intent into actions committed by athletes at full speed in the heat of the moment, but all of these moments sure seem to be connected.
Of course, Reggie Miller of TNT seemed to think it was "totally by accident." Do you?