“It was a bad play,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks of World Peace. “There's no way around it. It's a dangerous play. It's not a play that should be involved in basketball. And it's unfortunate it happened. I know Ron, but unfortunately it did happen. You can't do that. That's unacceptable.”
World Peace was ejected from the game after the officiating crew reviewed the incident and ruled it a Flagrant 2, which under league rules warrants an automatic ejection.
World Peace attempted to explain his actions in a brief statement to reporters after the game, saying his elbow was an unintentional play.
“During that play I just dunked on (Kevin) Durant and (Serge) Ibaka and I got really emotional and excited and it was unfortunate that James had to get hit with an unintentional elbow,” World Peace said. “I hope he's OK. The Thunder, they're playing for a championship this year, so I hope that he's OK and I apologize to the Thunder and to James Harden. You know, it was such a great game and it was unfortunate so much emotion was going on at that time. That's it for today.”
World Peace is expected to receive a suspension. According to NBA rules, in determining whether to impose a fine and/or suspension on any flagrant foul the league office will consider how hard the foul was, the outcome of the foul (whether it led to an altercation) and the level of the injury sustained by the player who was fouled.
“Actions were taken,” said Thunder center Kendrick Perkins. “The consequences were there. It was a Flagrant 2 and he got thrown out of the game. It happens. Sometimes it's an intense game. Metta World Peace, he's a good dude so I know he wouldn't try to hurt nobody.”