DENVER — Kobe Bryant has a little bit more freedom one again to turn his frustration on officials.
In a move that he assured would happen, the NBA rescinded his technical foul called in the Lakers’ 119-108 loss Monday to the Denver Nuggets.
Bryant was given his 14th technical foul this season as he walked off the court at the end of the first half, putting him two away from an NBA-imposed one-game suspension.
But Bryant expressed optimism the NBA would overturn the call after speaking with referee Joey Crawford before the second half.
“Joe didn’t know what was going on. Me and a ref were having just a simple conversation and he kind of jumped the gun,” said Bryant.
The Lakers star said he would control himself after picking up his 13th technical foul in the Lakers’ win Sunday against Dallas. That didn’t last long. After joking in Dallas that Bryant can surely afford the $33,000 he’s accumulated thus far in fines, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni suddenly turned serious in Denver.
“He has to control that,” D’Antoni said. “He knows we can’t afford to lose him for a game.”
The NBA gave him some added cushion with its ruling. But Bryant has showed in seasons past he’s pretty good at toeing the line.
The 16 technicals he earned in the 2010-11 season marked the only time he’s done so in his 17-year career. He came close in other seasons in 2001-02 (14), 2005-06 (15), 2006-07 (14), 2007-08 (15) and 2009-10 (14). Should the NBA uphold Bryant’s latest technical. he could only earn one more in the Lakers’ 24 remaining games.
How does Bryant manage to immediately shut off his emotions?
“I just don’t get them,” he said. “It’s that simple.”
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