Friday night’s game between the Thunder and the Lakers wasn’t close, but Serge ibaka and Metta World Peace appeared to try to make up for that by getting tangled up in the closing minutes.
With under three minutes to play and Oklahoma City leading by 10, Ibaka and MWP were fighting for position on a free throw attempt from Jodie Meeks.
The shot went in, which makes this all the more ridiculous. But after the two got tangled up, neither wanted to be the one to break the hold first, so words were exchanged, and double technicals were handed out by the officials.
World Peace has the reputation, obviously, and has the bad blood with the Thunder franchise after dropping James Harden with a vicious elbow just last season.
But Ibaka has been known to throw a death grip of his own, so let’s just chalk this one up to two so-called tough guys not wanting to back down from a non-existent confrontation.
Where this gets interesting, of course, is in the event that the Lakers get their act together before the postseason, and end up in a seven-game series against the Thunder. Incidents like this will be filed away by both teams if that happens, and the end result could be a true rivalry that would be amazing to see play out.
“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.
“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”
That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.
I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?
It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.