- Dave McMenamin, ESPN.com
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LOS ANGELES -- Kobe Bryant said his matchup with Orlando's Matt Barnes was "entertaining" after the Lakers' 96-94 loss to the Magic on Sunday, but if the technical foul Bryant was whistled for during the contentious battle ultimately results in a suspension, it will surely lose some of its entertainment value.
Bryant and Barnes were each called for a technical foul at the start of the third quarter on a play under Orlando's basket as Vince Carter made a 3-pointer to give the Magic a 55-48 lead.
The technical was Bryant's 12th of the season. If Bryant's total reaches 16, he will be suspended by the league for one game. The slate is wiped clean for the postseason, when amassing seven technical fouls results in a one-game ban.
Lakers coach Phil Jackson said before Los Angeles played Toronto on Tuesday that Bryant's technical against Orlando should not have been called.
"My concern is that kind of situation is instigated by Barnes," Jackson said. "A guy could just get caught up in that situation. Really, Kobe did not deserve a technical for that sequence of actions.
"Kobe boxed him out. It was just a simple boxout. I think the refs got [more] overexcited about it than the players. Those things will happen. So he's got to be careful about that."
"He needs to be Kobe Bryant's bodyguard," Rose said. "The only thing Kobe should have to worry about is putting the ball in the hole."
Jackson did not agree with Rose's opinion but suggested Artest can help Bryant in other ways.
"The biggest thing about Ron is that he can relieve the defensive pressures that Kobe has to face night in and night out with certain guys," Jackson said. "We can tag-team the guys and they can share in squaring them off in different times in the game. If someone gets hot on Kobe, we can pass him off to Ron for a while."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.
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