The ironically named Metta World Peace is known for getting in plenty of skirmishes in his NBA career, so it wasn’t too surprising when he got tangled up with Detroit Pistons guard Brandon Knight during the Lakers’ 98-97 win on Sunday. World Peace was hit with a flagrant foul 1 for the incident, but Knight was still crying foul after the game.
Knight said he was punched by Peace during the tussle wants a more severe punishment for the Laker forward. And it appears that claim has some validity based on the photo above.
“The play needs to be reviewed because he definitely threw a punch,” Knight told reporters after the game, via ESPN.com. “It felt like he threw a punch. That’s why I reacted the way I did.
Of course, Peace – who is known for his physical play under the rim – said he was just playing tough, physical ball with Knight and that there was no ill intent.
“He’s a small guy,” World Peace said after finishing with eight points and nine rebounds in the win. “(Knight) was trying his hardest to keep me off him. He worked hard, man. That kid, I don’t know where he’s from, I don’t know what school he went to, because he was guarding me and I was crashing the boards. He’s a tough kid, man. He tried to keep me off the glass and he did a good job. That’s all I can say. He’s a tough kid, very great. He’s a tough point guard or shooting guard or whatever he is.”
Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni also didn’t see anything more than two players scrapping a bit after the play.
“They got tangled up and they determined that he was a little bit more aggressive than the other other guy,” said Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni. “It happens.”
ESPN analyst and former NBA coach Flip Saunders agreed with D’Antoni on Sportscenter Sunday night, saying that World Peace was being overly aggressive, but should not be suspended for his actions. The clip did show World Peace’s fist making contact with Knight, but it is not clear if it was a punch, or if Peace was just grappling with Knight, who Saunders determined was just as aggressive with Peace during the confrontation.
TUESDAY UPDATE: The league has suspended Metta World Peace for one game, which he will serve Tuesday, sitting out against the Brooklyn Nets.