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Raja Bell, Suspended

5/4/2006

Bell talked to Paul Coro last night at length, before the suspension was announced. This is a mere fraction of what's there:

"It's a personal thing when someone continually hits you in the face. That's the only way I can put it. I've been playing as hard as I can play. I've been trying to do a good job, I've been trying to be what my team needs me to be, and I continually get hit in my face. There doesn't seem to be any boundaries or limitations for what he's allowed to do to me, and at that point, I kind of lost my cool and I took it into my own hands."

On what Lakers coach Phil Jackson said to him a couple plays before the takedown:

"Honestly, (Bryant) hit me in the face, then he came down and tried to bully me a couple times on the play and I went over ot the referee, Greg Willard, and asked him what happened and Phil Jackson said I effing-deserved it. I said, 'What?' And he said, 'You effing deserved it.' And that was enough for me."

On what the Lakers should take from Bell's retaliation:

"I cant speculate on what they take away from it, it wasn't meant to send any message. I was just done getting hit in my face, man."

On how the team fared in Game 5:

"We played really well last night despite my lack of judgment."

On when his problems with Bryant started:

"I was cool through four games of this series, man. No beefs, all right. Whatever. If you're going to keep hitting me in my face and then talking like you're not doing it on purpose, there's a reason both my cheeks are bruised right now and I can barely open my jaw. All right? Every time you stick your butt out and try to hit me in my genitals, you're doing it on purpose. That's something you don't do inadvertently and it was enough. It was this series."

TNT told Bryant that Bell had called him arrogant. Bryant had an arrogant answer, as reported by Howard Beck in The New York Times:

"Does he know me? Do I know this guy? I don't know this guy," said Bryant, who accused Bell of overreacting. "Maybe he wasn't hugged enough as a kid."