Wednesday, May 27, 2009


A day later, the NBA blew the whistle on Dahntay Jones for tripping Kobe Bryant.

The league assessed Denver's defensive specialist a flagrant foul for sending the Lakers' star sprawling through the lane with a trip late in the third quarter that Bennett Salvatore's officiating crew missed.

Jones was drafted 20th by the Celtics in the 2003 NBA draft after playing at Duke.

Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson complained about Jones' (show here tackling Kobe in the first quarter) "unacceptable defense, tripping guys and playing unsportsmanlike basketball" during a rant about the officiating after Los Angeles fell 120-101 to Denver to tie the Western Conference finals at 2.

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 kept things light when asked if Jones tried to trip him.

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

Evidently, based on the photographic evidence left, he wasn’t so mellow about it just after it happened.

Was Jones playing him dirty?

"Good defense," Bryant said.

Bryant had beaten Jones cutting to the basket when Jones stuck out his right foot.

Jones called it an accident, an instinctive move that lacked any malice or even forethought. (Just like Coach K taught him!)

"It wasn't intentional," said Jones, who was at a loss to explain his actions.

"I can't. I was just playing basketball. We got tangled up."

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