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Thunder Game 5 notebook: Metta World Peace, James Harden interact

Coming off the floor on the timeout, the Lakers' Metta World Peace rubbed James Harden's head, with Harden reacting by grabbing World Peace's forearm and removing it.
BY RYAN ABER AND JOHN ROHDE Published: May 22, 2012

With about four minutes to go in the first half, the Thunder called a timeout after Metta World Peace layup.

Coming off the floor on the timeout, World Peace rubbed James Harden's head, with Harden reacting by grabbing World Peace's forearm and removing it.

World Peace, of course, was suspended for seven games for an elbow to the head of Harden in the Thunder's game at Los Angeles on April 22.


A play-by-play of what transpired with 31.9 seconds left in the second quarter:

— With OKC trailing 51-50, Lakers forward Metta World Peace fouls Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha hard on a layup attempt. World Peace blocked the shot with his right hand, but shoved Sefolosha hard in the back with his left forearm, for which he receives a flagrant-1 foul.

— World Peace protests the call and is assessed a technical foul. Kevin Durant makes the free throw (score tied at 51).

— Sefolosha goes to the line, shooting two free throws. He makes the first (Thunder leads 52-51) and Kobe Bryant is assessed a technical foul for still arguing the call against World Peace. Durant shoots the technical and makes it (Thunder leads 53-51).

— Sefolosha shoots the second of his two free throws and makes it (Thunder leads 54-51).

— OKC inbounds the ball.


Lakers coach Mike Brown used terms familiar to many in Oklahoma when discussing the importance of Kendrick Perkins to the Thunder before Game 5.

“Perk basically is the left offensive guard and then you've got K.D. as the quarterback scoring touchdowns and you've got (Russell) Westbrook as the running back and (James) Harden as the receiver,” Brown said. “Those guys get the headlines but what Perk brings to the table, you can't replace.”

Brown stopped just short of agreeing with Kobe Bryant that Perkins was the best post defender in the league.

“I would have to think about it but he's probably, if not the best, he's got to be top 3,” Brown said. “He's a big guy, you look at him and you think he might be slow but he's got great feet, he's got great toughness, not only physically with his strength but mentally.

“One possession, he'll start behind, he'll push you out, he'll go back behind when the ball moves, he'll front again and then he'll get back and front just to box you out or he'll root you out. We call that type of stuff multiple effort and he gives it on every single flipping possession and it's stuff that doesn't show up on the stat sheet but it's very effective for this team.”

Perkins had 11 rebounds and a pair of blocks in the Thunder win.


— Bryant scored 15 of the Lakers' first 19 points and was nearly called for his third personal foul with 0.5 seconds left in the first quarter. He returned with 6:51 left in the second quarter. He scored four points in the second quarter, which came on back-to-back dunks while being guarded by James Harden.

— After going 41 for 42 (.976) at the free-throw line in Game 3, the Lakers started out 0 for 3 in Game 5 and then made 13 straight before their next miss.

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