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Lakers' Jackson fumes over Jones' defense on Bryant

Posted May 26 2009 7:56AM

DENVER (AP) -- Lakers coach Phil Jackson accused Nuggets guard Dahntay Jones of playing "unsportsmanlike basketball" by intentionally tripping Kobe Bryant during Game 4 of the Western Conference finals Monday night.

Jackson's accusation came after Los Angeles fell 120-101 to Denver to tie the series at 2-all. He became the second coach to call Jones dirty during the playoffs, joining Byron Scott of the Hornets, who said the same thing in the first round.

The Lakers coach was upset with what he deemed inconsistent officiating that resulted in 49 Denver free throws -- 14 more than the Lakers.

"There's another situation out there tonight that was unacceptable by Dahntay Jones," Jackson said. "Just unacceptable defense, tripping guys and playing unsportsmanlike basketball."

Jones stuck his right foot out while Bryant was cutting to the basket for a possible rebound late in the third quarter and Bryant went sliding across the lane. There was no call, and Bryant argued with referee Bennett Salvatore.

Asked if he felt Jones went out of his way to trip Bryant, Jackson replied: "Yes. It's not the first time it's happened in this series."

Bryant tried to stay away from the question when asked about it moments later -- sort of.

"I just fell on my face for no reason," he said. "I'm a klutz."

Was Jones playing him dirty?

"Good defense," Bryant said.

Jones, a defensive specialist who starts for the Nuggets, has been charged with hounding Bryant at the start of the first and third quarters. In Game 2, he had five fouls by the middle of the third quarter.

He said he wasn't bothered by Jackson calling him dirty.

"Just playing hard," Jones said. "If he can't respect it, I'm sorry. I'm trying to be aggressive and give it all I have out there. My teammates appreciate it."

Especially Kenyon Martin, who has also been accused of dirty play.

"You're a dirty player now. Welcome. It's an elite club being considered one of those," Martin said when told about Jackson's comments.

In the first round of the playoffs, Scott was upset with the way Jones guarded Chris Paul.

"I can appreciate anybody that plays hard, but when you get to the point where you're being a little dirty, that's the thing that kind of aggravates me," Scott said.

The Jones-Bryant tangle was only one of Jackson's issues after Monday's game.

He let the refs know he was mad by refusing to quickly insert a replacement for Luke Walton after Walton fouled out with 4:05 left. Refs hit the Lakers with a delay-of-game warning, then Jackson brought in Shannon Brown.

The coach was upset with a sequence during which Walton got a technical foul after arguing a no-call against Nene, who appeared to have elbowed Walton as he was cutting across the middle. Walton picked up four personal fouls over the next 4:25.

"The referee gave him a technical then subsequently gave him three consecutive fouls out on the floor," Jackson said. "That kind of disparity we don't like in ballgames. That's not equal refereeing and those are the things that change the course of games."

Nuggets coach George Karl complained about the whistle after Game 3, a 103-97 Lakers win. The Lakers shot 14 more free throws in that game.

The teams have combined for 160 free throws in the two games at the Pepsi Center -- 80 apiece.

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