- Dave McMenamin, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
Bynum became infuriated Sunday night after referee Leon Wood called a foul on him while he was defending Amare Stoudemire with 11:26 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Bynum stepped into Wood's path with his arms outstretched while the official walked toward the scorers' table, earning the first technical foul. When Bynum kept arguing, Wood tossed him.
"He felt like I showed him up so he teched me up," Bynum said. "I said, 'Are you serious?' I don't know if that really warrants a technical or a double technical, at that."
At the time of the ejection, Bynum had 18 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots compared to the MVP candidate Stoudemire's line of 17, eight and five.
"I'm pretty surprised," Bynum said. "You can watch the telecast again. You can read my lips, I'm saying, 'Are you serious?' He's a grown man, I don't know if I showed him up or not. I'm not sure."
Bynum made his plea, thinking he had a clean block on Stoudemire's shot attempt, but Wood was not responsive to his argument.
"He wouldn't acknowledge me," Bynum said. "I asked him a question and he kind of like put his head down like a bad Lab [Labrador retriever] or something."
Bynum said he wasn't sure if he made any contact with the referee. It appeared his right arm might have grazed Wood.
"I don't know," Bynum said. "I'd have to watch it. I don't think I hit him or anything like that. I can't do anything about it at that point."
It was the first time Bynum picked up two technical fouls to be eliminated from a game since Dec. 13, 2007 at home against the San Antonio Spurs and it was the first time he was whistled for a technical in 14 games played this season.
"I thought he obviously felt he got fouled two or three times at the other end of the floor when he was going up and some inconsequential stuff that wasn't called, then a simple thing that was called against him, I suppose made him irritable," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "Unfortunately he got ejected from the game."
The Lakers were whistled for two other technical fouls in the game. Ron Artest picked one up in the first quarter after scuffling with New York's Shawne Williams and briefly placing his hand on Williams' neck. Kobe Bryant was called for one -- his seventh of the season -- in the second quarter after waving his arm at Wood in disgust after a foul was not called on Raymond Felton, who was guarding Bryant on an errant shot attempt.
"I'd just as soon not comment on it," Jackson said when asked about his team's "feistiness."
When asked if he was refraining from further comment to avoid a fine from the league office, Jackson said, "It's just irritating, that's all."
The Lakers have been called for 16 technical fouls as a team in their past 10 games, dating back to playing the Milwaukee Bucks on Dec. 21. Bryant has been the main culprit with six, followed by Bynum, Artest, Derek Fisher and Matt Barnes with two apiece and Pau Gasol and Luke Walton with one each.
"I'm never happy about a technical, whether you're trying to get a point across or not -- even with coaches trying to make a point about refereeing. I don't think it's part about what we want to do in the game or part of good sportsmanship," Jackson said Friday. "We really have to measure ourselves as far as what our temperament is."
The 16 technicals have cost the Lakers players more than $32,000 in fines to the league. Along with the NBA expanding the technical foul rule to include "overt" player reactions to referee calls this season, the league also doubled the financial penalty associated with a technical. Players and coaches are now docked $2,000 for each of their first five technical fouls. The cost rises to $3,000 for the next five, followed by $4,000 for Nos. 11-15. Starting at 16, players are suspended one game and then an additional game for every two technicals after that, along with a $5,000 fine for each T.
"Obviously he didn't agree with it, once they call the first tech, you got to back off," Gasol said about Bynum. "You got to back off because no matter what you say, the gestures itself are going to put the referee in a spot to throw you out. So you just got to contain yourself and tell him during a timeout or a free throw, 'You missed that call.'"
Bryant said he thought Bynum's technicals were "silly" and then commented on how the referees officiate Artest when he plays. Artest was called for a flagrant foul, category 1, for in essence using his arm to clothesline Stoudemire with 42.9 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
"Look at Ron, he is tough," Bryant said. "It's just a fine line with him because he understands how they officiate him, so it's tough for him to be physical. A play that Steve Blake makes, if it's a physical play and Ron Artest makes [the same play], he might get ejected or suspended. So, he walks a very fine line.
"That's one of the strengths of Ron's game to be able to do things like that and hopefully the league allows him to do stuff like that."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.
4dEthan Sherwood Strauss
5dMatt Walks, ESPN.com