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Flagrant foul earns Lakers' Bynum two-game suspension


Posted Mar 20 2011 3:03PM - Updated Mar 21 2011 12:31AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Lakers coach Phil Jackson has no idea how the NBA did the math that resulted in Andrew Bynum receiving a two-game suspension for his flagrant foul on Minnesota's Michael Beasley.

Jackson just knows the absence of the shotblocking center is a big negative in the middle of the two-time champions' defense.

Bynum, who has little prior history of hard fouls, missed Sunday's game against Portland and will sit out Tuesday's meeting with Phoenix under the suspension announced Sunday morning by the NBA.

Jackson said he agreed with the flagrant foul and Bynum's ejection last Friday, but thought the resulting penalty was "excessive." Bynum will lose roughly $250,000 during his suspension without pay.

"I feel badly for the team, for the fans," Jackson said. "That (suspension) is a subjective thing. I don't know how they judge it. I understand the reasoning behind it, but the penalties, I don't understand."

Bynum was ejected during the fourth quarter of the Lakers' 106-98 win over the Timberwolves after he turned his shoulder and sent Beasley crashing to the court in a mid-air collision when Beasley drove the lane.

Los Angeles had won 11 of 12 since the All-Star break, and Bynum has raised his game considerably during their surge toward the playoffs. The starting center is averaging 11.8 points, 13.0 rebounds and 2.6 blocked shots since the break, including 22 points and 15 rebounds during a win at Dallas last weekend.

Lamar Odom started in Bynum's place against the Blazers, just as he did while Bynum sat out the first 28 games of the regular season following offseason surgery on his right knee. Jackson has said the 7-foot Bynum's looming presence in the middle is the key to Los Angeles' defense.

Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis said he didn't know whether Bynum should be suspended immediately after Friday's game. After seeing replays over the weekend, Rambis agreed with the ruling.

"He made no play on the ball," Rambis said Sunday before the Wolves hosted Sacramento. "It's unfortunate that things like that happen in basketball, but it was the right call. Michael is relatively lucky he didn't get more hurt than he did."

Rambis was an assistant coach with the Lakers during Bynum's first four seasons, playing a large role in Bynum's development from the youngest player ever drafted by an NBA team into a talented defensive center.

"I know Andrew, and he wasn't going up to do anything malicious," Rambis said Friday, immediately after the incident. "He just wanted to protect the basket, so I think he was making a good basketball play out of it."

Beasley limped off the court shortly after getting hurt, but X-rays on his hip and shoulder showed no damage. He scored 13 points while playing 15 minutes in the Timberwolves' blowout loss to the Sacramento Kings on Sunday, earning a technical foul while appearing agitated and distracted throughout the game.

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