Lakers forward Metta World Peace was suspended seven games by the NBA on Tuesday for throwing a vicious elbow at Oklahoma City's James Harden, meaning the Los Angeles starter likely will miss six playoff games.
World Peace was ejected from Sunday's game against the Thunder for striking Harden in the head, giving him a concussion. World Peace claimed the contact was an accidental, overzealous celebration of a dunk.
World Peace will miss the Lakers' season finale on Thursday at Sacramento and the next six games for which he is eligible. The playoffs open Saturday, and Los Angeles is likely to be the Western Conference's third seed.
The suspension is Artest's third career ban of at least seven games. He got an 86-game suspension in 2004 for jumping into the stands at the Palace of Auburn Hills in the Detroit suburbs to fight fans, and he served a seven-game suspension in 2007 for his no-contest plea on a domestic violence charge.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said the team "accepted" the suspension.
In games last night *
At Boston, Sasha Pavlovic scored 16 points off the bench and the Celtics turned back the Miami Heat, 78-66.
* At Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant scored 32 points, reserve Daequan Cook had all 19 of his points in the fourth quarter and the Thunder beat the Sacramento Kings, 118-110.
* At Atlanta, Joe Johnson scored 28 points, and the Hawks held on for a 109-102 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.