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James Harden #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder lies on the floor after being hit by Metta World Peace #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers as referees separate Thunder and Lakers players at Staples Center on April 22, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.
For the first time since the Staples Center was built in 1999, three professional sports teams that call it home, the Clippers, the Kings, and the Lakers, have qualified for their respective playoff seasons.
The Clippers are the latest Los Angeles team to break into the playoffs, ending the second-longest active postseason drought in the NBA; the Kings maintained a five-game winning streak in overtime against Vancouver’s Canucks in an upset victory; and last night the Lakers beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in double-overtime.
The Lakers victory, however, was overshadowed by Metta World Peace’s ejection from the game after he elbowed Thunder’s shooting guard James Hardin in the back of his skull. The impact knocked Hardin down onto the court and prevented him from playing for the remainder of the game. World Peace has since apologized for the incident, but is likely to face a multigame suspension. World Peace was previously suspended in 2004 for his participation in a brawl while playing for the Indiana Pacers.
Will you be attending one or more of the playoff games? How excited are you for L.A.’s sports teams? Do you think World Peace’s elbow was an unintentional accident or a malicious act?
J.A. Adande, senior writer, ESPN.com; adjunct professor, USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
Sam Betesh, executive producer, “The Loose Cannons" AM 570 FOX Sports LA