A scuffle nearly broke out. So you know the play involved Metta World Peace. But this time, World Peace didn't throw any elbows, cause any bodily harm or even earn an ejection. Instead he tried forcing a jump ball with Russell Westbrook when play suddenly went south.
It hardly proved to be a game-defining moment for World Peace in the Lakers' 99-96 Game 3 victory Friday over the Oklahoma City Thunder. He overcame a 10-point performance on only three-of-10 shooting by stealing the ball from Kevin Durant and then sinking two free throws to secure a 97-94 lead with 12.6 seconds left. But it was the play that sparked tons of discussion afterward, including World Peace's contention that Westbrook was "going crazy."
"I was just trying to get a loose ball and try to get it quickly and call a timeout," Westbrook said. "But I guess it was kind of hard for the refs to see it. That's all I was trying to do."
The replays show otherwise.
With 4:14 left in the second quarter, Westbook dived for a loose ball, only to see World Peace standing over him in hopes of forcing a jump. Replays show Westbrook then flailed his arms and eventually grabbed World Peace's right leg. That then prompted World Peace to drop his knee on Westbrook's leg as Jordan Hill pushed away Westbrook. Referee Joey Crawford soon broke up the commotion and issued technical fouls to both World Peace and Westbrook.
"That's long gone," World Peace said. "He was very passionate at that point, Westbrook. There were a lot of emotions in that game. I can't worry about that. I have to try to get the ball. I'm trying to get the ball, but he's going crazy. I lose my feet. My knee hits his chest. But I'm glad I didn't get ejected."