DALLAS -- One things for certain in regards to the Dallas Mavericks' first-round playoff opponent.
The Mavs will either be playing the Los Angeles Lakers without Metta World Peace. Or they'll be playing the Oklahoma City Thunder possibly without James Harden.
World Peace was suspended by the NBA for seven games for clocking Harden in the head with a vicious elbow this past Sunday, giving one of the league's top sixth man a concussion. World Peace will sit out the Lakers' regular season finale Thursday night in Sacramento, and then miss the team's first six playoff games.
If a Mavs-Lakers series goes seven games, World Peace would be eligible to return for Game 7.
The situation is more cloudier in regards to Harden. Because Harden suffered a concussion, he must go through several NBA-mandated extensive tests before he's able to play again.
Thus, Harden could be ready for Game 1 in a Mavs-Thunder series. Or he could miss two, three, four or five games, or the entire series altogether.
-- Dwain Price
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