The Lakers have plenty of reasons to feel upset. They enter tonight’s game against the San Antonio Spurs (4-3) with a 1-7 record, worst in the Western Conference. The Lakers are ranked last overall in total defense.
But the Lakers are also upset over the NBA punishing reserve guard Ronnie Price with a one-game suspension that keeps him out of tonight’s game against the Spurs. The league made the ruling after Price was ejected for a flagrant foul-2 in the Lakers’ loss Wednesday in New Orleans where he pulled down Austin Rivers from behind. But replays showed that Price attempted to stop the ball.
“We feel that the contact came from an attempt to block the shot and that there was no intent to hit Austin Rivers in the head,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “Therefore, we are disappointed in the league’s decision.”
Lakers coach Byron Scott echoed those concerns, saying that during the Lakers’ showtime era such a play only would have resulted in a foul.
“I don’t think there was any malice in it whatsoever,” Scott said. “He’s a tough kid. I really felt he was going for the ball as best as he could.”
Price has become involved in other defensive controversies this season. During training camp, Price also picked up a technical foul for throwing his shoe at Golden State’s Andre Iguodala to stop a fast break. But Scott pointed out that Price has never earned a reputation for picking up flagrant fouls. The nine-year veteran has often been considered a positive locker room presence both because of his work ethic and attitude.
While Lakers Jeremy Lin will continue starting, second round draft pick Jordan Clarkson will have added responsibility. He has averaged only 3.7 points on 36.4 percent shooting in 9.9 minutes of play.
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