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NBA commissioner David Stern: Metta World Peace suspension a 'stiff penalty'

BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: April 25, 2012

NBA commissioner David Stern said Wednesday he considered many factors but used no specific formula to determine the length of the seven-game suspension he dealt to Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace's for elbowing Thunder guard James Harden last Sunday.

"I can tell you that it's some combination of art and science," Stern said during a 40-minute pre-playoff teleconference with media. "We look at the previous penalties. We look at who's involved in the altercation. We do take into account the seriousness of the injury and whatever else was in the atmosphere, and then it just becomes my job to decide what it should be. If I were looking inside from without that, I would agree with everyone who has an opinion, but at the end of the day, it's my job to make the decision and then move on, and hopefully we can."

World Peace will be suspended for the Los Angeles Lakers' final regular-season game Thursday at Sacramento and for six playoff games.

Harden was diagnosed with a concussion and under a new league policy concerning concussions will not be allowed to return to the court until he passes all stages of a comprehensive evaluation.

Harden did not play in the Thunder's 118-110 victory over Sacramento on Tuesday night and is not expected to play in tonight's regular-season finale against Denver at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Stern was asked if he considered the potential severity of Harden's injury and the possibility World Peace might return to action before Harden.

"I can't really say that I focused on it exactly that way," Stern said. "We have reason to believe that James will be available for the playoffs and we hope he will be, and we're very thankful that his injury was not more serious than it was. That's the extent of the consideration."

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