Anytime Metta World Peace steps foot on the court in Auburn Hills, Michigan, bad images come to mind. No need to rehash the infamous incident known as the Malice in the Palace. We all know what happened and how much the man then named Ron Artest has changed since.
So with the Lake Show in Detroit yesterday the last thing any of us needed was another incident to occur that would beckon the Malice ghosts from their graves. Unfortunately near the end of the first half a brief dust up between Metta and Pistons point guard Brandon Knight sent a momentary shockwave through the hoops universe only because of the natural connections between the Lakers forward and the court on which the game occurred.
Nothing of consequence happened other than your typical NBA trash talk and tough guy posturing. At least that’s how it appeared. According to Knight there was more to the confrontation.
The officials hit Metta with a flagrant foul once he and Knight became tangled during a free throw taken by Greg Monroe. It looked like nothing more than physical play that went a little too far – par for World Peace – but Knight says something more sinister occurred.
“The play needs to be reviewed because he definitely threw a punch. It felt like he threw a punch. That’s why I reacted the way I did. The play was over and he grabbed me around the neck. If someone grabs you around the neck, you’re not just going to let that happen. You do what you need to get that person off you.”
If I’m not mistaken the league does indeed review all flagrant calls so this one will get some sort of oversight. For my money I saw nothing of the sort watching the broadcast. In fact I was surprised World Peace was hit with a flagrant.
Maybe there was more going on than I realized. Or perhaps Knight is just putting extras on it after a bitter defeat. Without question officials are on heightened alert whenever Metta is on the court doubly so in Auburn Hills. But if there is more to this the league office will take action. So until then it’s just Knight’s claim of a phantom punch and nothing more.