Andrew Bynum ejected for flagrant 2
LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum was assessed a flagrant foul 2 on Friday for striking Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley in the chest with his right elbow and bringing Beasley to the floor.
The foul came with 6:16 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Lakers leading 88-87 when Beasley went up for a layup attempt.
"[Bynum] was going to go block the shot and he knew he was too late and so he just bumped him; he just gave up on the block but he didn't try for the block," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "But, Andrew's [foul] looked bad and the kid fell hard."
On the Lakers' previous possession, Bynum missed a shot at the rim and then was called for an offensive foul as he tried to put back his missed layup.
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Jackson admitted the flagrant foul could have been a result of Bynum's still being upset about the call that had just gone against him on the other end.
"It was a frustrated play," Jackson said. "He was frustrated. He got fouled, didn't get fouled or whatever happened on the play before was kind of a frustrating play, and he reacted in a way in which I'm sure the league will look at and wonder."
Bynum did not speak to reporters after the game.
"Those are judgment calls by the referees," Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis said. "Unfortunately, Michael got hurt on it and had to come out of the ballgame because of it, but I know Andrew. He wasn't going up to do anything malicious; he was just going up to protect the basket. So I think he was making a good basketball play out of it."
Beasley came down hard on his left hip and exited the game with 6:05 remaining after hitting his two free throws to put Minnesota up 89-88. Beasley did not return to the game, finishing with 18 points and seven rebounds.
"His hip is very sore," Rambis said. "I don't know anything more than that. I know they took X-rays, but I don't know anything more about that or what the X-rays showed."
The NBA defines a flagrant foul 2 as "unnecessary and excessive contact committed by a player against an opponent" and it carries with it an automatic ejection.
The league office will review the call, as it does with all flagrant fouls, and determine whether Bynum's actions warrant a suspension.
Bynum picked up a flagrant 2 for fouling Gerald Wallace in January 2009 when the Lakers were hosting the Charlotte Bobcats. Wallace suffered a partially collapsed left lung and fractured a rib. Bynum did not receive any additional suspension for the play.
Jackson said he did not feel like Bynum deserves to be suspended for the play. Bynum's teammates also supported their young center.
"Andrew is not the type of person to ever try to hurt anyone, but I think he was just trying to make a play to help us out," Derek Fisher said. "It was just an emotional game."
Added Lamar Odom: "It was just a basketball play. Players jump in the air, and they lose control when they get hit. Sometimes, it looks a little worse than it is."
Bynum, who had been averaging 11.9 points, 12.9 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game in the Lakers' 10-1 streak since the All-Star Game, had 10 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks at the time of the ejection. L.A. ran its streak to 11-1 by going on to win 106-98 after Bynum was tossed.
Players from both teams had to be separated after the foul, and Beasley was called for a technical for jawing with Lakers forward Matt Barnes.
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.