Friday, March 14, 2008
Bruce Bowen suspended for kicking Chris Paul, consecutive games streak ends at 500
DETROIT -- San Antonio's Bruce Bowen was suspended one game
by the NBA on Friday for kicking Chris Paul, ending his consecutive
games streak at 500.
Bowen began his streak, the longest in the NBA, on Feb. 28,
2002, and he started every game until missing the Spurs' visit to
Detroit on Friday night. Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince took the
league lead in starts with his 338th in a row.
The altercation happened after Paul was called for a foul with
5:15 left in the third quarter of the Spurs' 100-75 loss to New
Orleans on Wednesday.
Besides his streak, Bowen will lose about $37,000.
"The league is trying to send him a message more than
anything," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "The incident itself,
I've watched a lot of times, and there was no real contact. It
doesn't reach the level of other suspensions that I've seen, either
in physicality or harm."
Bowen has built a reputation as one of the NBA's best defenders
and perhaps its most physical on the perimeter.
Phoenix standout Amare Stoudemire said Bowen tried to hurt him
during the Western Conference finals last year, insisting Bowen
purposely kicked him from behind in what he called a dirty play. In
the same series, Suns star Steve Nash said Bowen told him he
unintentionally kneed Nash in the groin.
Popovich said the suspension was a tough way for Bowen's streak
"I'm sure he's very disappointed," Popovich said. "He was
very proud of that. He takes great pride in taking care of himself,
especially at his age."
The 36-year-old Bowen is averaging 5.8 points and 2.7 rebounds
this season. He was on the NBA All-Defensive team the previous
seven seasons and was runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year
the last three seasons.