LOS ANGELES -- Just when Metta World Peace was rounding into top form for the Los Angeles Lakers, the oft-troubled forward said he let his "erractic passion" overtake him and it cost him a suspension.
"It seemed like anger but it was a lot of passion involved," World Peace said of his elbow to the head of Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden that resulted in a concussion Sunday. "It was erratic fire. Erratic passion. It was way too much, way too much. Definitely didn't mean to hit him how it hit him."
World Peace was suspended seven games Tuesday by the NBA, including as many as six in the playoffs. In 13 NBA seasons, it's the 13th suspension for World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest.
World Peace, after practice Wednesday, refrained from criticizing the length of the suspension issued by Commissioner David Stern, who called his actions "reckless and dangerous."
Harden was cleared to play Wednesday but coach Scott Brooks decided against it to give him more recovery time before the playoffs.
World Peace has been suspended 116 games in his career, including 86 for the infamous 2004 brawl at the Palace of Auburn Hills (Mich.) against the Detroit Pistons while he was an Indiana Pacer.
At the Lakers' facility in El Segundo, Calif., World Peace explained his version of what transpired. He was having the worst season of his career, averaging just 7.7 points and struggling to fit into coach Mike Brown's motion offense.
But in the last 10 games World Peace reached double figures in scoring in nine. He scored 18 points or more five times. A trying season had turned around for the better.
"When I'm on that court that passion is bottled up and I've been feeling really good. I got the one dunk. Y'all haven't seen that in years," World Peace said. "I went straight up and got the first dunk over most of their team. Then the second one I got the offensive rebound, bumped Kevin (Durant) out of the way, dunk, it went straight up.
"Then the third one, the fast break," he paused, smiling as he recalled how he energized the Staples Center crowd, "Kevin had no chance. Bumped him out of the way, went up, dunked and at that point I was just way too emotional."
World Peace started to feel too good about himself as he pounded his chest with his fist. Then, as he turned, he bumped into Harden, and the 6-7, 260-pound World Peace swung his left elbow, catching Harden beind the ear.
"It's hard to get into a guy's head to know exactly what happened in that situation," Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said. "I haven't really spoken to (World Peace) about it."
Brown will start Devin Ebanks for World Peace. Ebanks began the season as the starting small forward with World Peace relegated to a sixth man role. But Ebanks couldn't keep the job and World Peace was struggling to fit in with the second unit.
Plus, World Peace wasn't in the best shape after the 149-day lockout ended and the season began Dec. 25.
"He came into camp overweight. It just took him some time to get down to a very good playing weight and which is where he's at now," Brown said. "It's showed in his play on both ends of the floor. Not only has he shot the ball better, he's defended better.
"Some of his athleticism has come back. He can dunk the ball in traffic now. He can dunk the ball from a standstill from underneath the rim."
On a podcast World Peace also did Wednesday, he talked of enjoying being able to dunk again: "I ain't dunked really like that in the last three years, but I've been feeling better. ... Feeling so well, I was just way hyped up after that third dunk. ... Unfortunately, you know, I hit Harden with the elbow."