Bryant suspended two games for elbowing Miller

Updated: January 1, 2006, 11:54 PM ET
Associated Press

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant was suspended for two games without pay Friday for elbowing Mike Miller of the Memphis Grizzlies in the throat.

 Kobe Bryant
Bryant

ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher reported Friday that according to Bryant's agent, Bryant will appeal the suspension.

Bryant was called for a flagrant foul for elbowing Miller with 8:24 remaining in the fourth quarter in Wednesday night's 100-99 overtime loss to the Grizzlies. He is scheduled to serve his suspension Sunday, when the Lakers host Utah, and Tuesday, when Los Angeles plays at the Jazz.

"Very surprised. Shocked, actually. Very, very surprised," Bryant said after practice Friday. "Angry and frustrated. I've been hit with a couple of flagrant fouls already this year. I've been hit with a clothesline and no suspensions come of that. And I get two games for this?"

After Wednesday's game, Bryant was unapologetic. He was cut over his left eye early in the third quarter when Miller elbowed him while driving to the basket. Bryant left the game briefly, and took three stitches to close the wound.

"Any player that was going to come down the lane at that point in time, I was going to let him know that he just can't walk through there," Bryant said after the game. "I think we as a team have to do a better job of establishing that. And me, as a leader of the ballclub, I've got to take the initiative to do that -- and hopefully, everybody will see that.

"This being our home court, people come here and think it's Hollywood and all sorts of stuff, so they think they'll come down [the lane] and look pretty and shoot jump shots and dunk the ball and finger-roll the ball and do all sorts of cute stuff. And we've got to stop that."

Bryant said his postgame comments were "no different than what everybody else says."

"Somebody comes down the lane, you've got to hit him," he said Friday. "You can't let them come down the lane and just finger roll and get easy baskets. Nothing to hurt anybody like that. That's just basic NBA basketball."

Somebody comes down the lane, you've got to hit him.
Kobe Bryant

Bryant also said he didn't think the elbow from Miller was intentional.

"You look at the replay, my face was nowhere near him," Bryant said. "My face was nowhere near his arm.

"I wish I could go back in time and take that foul back knowing what I know now, getting two games for it. But no way in my mind did I think it was going to be a suspension for something like that. No way."

Lakers coach Phil Jackson said he thought Bryant's postgame comments were a factor in the suspension.

"I think that contributed to it somewhat," Jackson said. "So we live with that decision."

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak took issue with the suspension.

"We understand that the league has a job to do in enforcing disciplinary action, but we disagree with and are disappointed with their ruling," Kupchak said in a statement.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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