|ESPN.com: NBA||[Print without images]|
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah -- Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike Brown was ejected from the Lakers' 96-87 loss to the Utah Jazz after appearing to bump into referee Zach Zarba on Saturday.
Brown was reacting to a no-call when Lakers forward Pau Gasol was stripped of the ball and fell to the floor near the start of the fourth quarter. As the Jazz streaked down the court for an uncontested dunk, Brown was whistled for a technical foul with 8:35 remaining for arguing the no-call before further confronting Zarba and being tossed.
"I was trying to give our guys some juice," Brown said after the game. "I got two techs, I shouldn't have got the two techs. It put our guys in a deeper hole than we were already in and that probably cost the game. So, I apologized to our guys. I take most of the responsibility for that. Having said that, Utah came out and were physical with us from the beginning. ... You got to give Utah credit for the way they played tonight because they played a very good basketball game."
The technical fouls came in the middle of a 14-0 run for Utah as the home team blew open the game that had been tied entering the fourth quarter.
Brown could be suspended when the Lakers continue their six-game road trip Monday in Philadelphia for making contact with an official. Brown would not confirm whether he bumped Zarba or not.
"I don't know," Brown said. "I'm just upset about the loss."
The altercation did not last long as Lakers assistants John Kuester and Chuck Person came between Brown and the referee before a member of the Lakers' team security personnel escorted Brown to the visitor's locker room at Energy Solutions Arena.
"I wish I wouldn't have put my team in a hole or predicament like that," Brown said. "I did. I apologized to them. Now I need to make sure that I don't do it again in the future. ... It's not good to do that, not setting the right example or proper tone for your team."
Brown watched the rest of the fourth quarter from the locker room and got a look at the play that set him off when Earl Watson was credited for a steal against Gasol.
"(Gasol) got bumped," Brown said. "He got fouled. I watched it in the back. I watched the replay and he fouled him, but that's not where we won or lost the game ... I just thought that Earl Watson, who played a terrific game, I thought he ran through him to get to the ball."
Said Gasol: "I thought there was definitely contact and there was definitely a possibility for the referee to make the call. He didn't make it. I shouldn't have been dribbling at that position and give the defense the opportunity, but (Watson) went for it. I thought there was definitely contact, but there's nothing I can do about it. We were on the road. Most times you're not going to get a lot of the calls (on the road). It was just frustrating because when they add up at times, it's just frustrating."
Kobe Bryant did not peg the loss on Brown's ejection and pointed to Utah's 50-42 rebounding advantage, including an 18-16 edge on the offensive glass, as the reason the Jazz won.
"It didn't cost us the game. Offensive rebounds cost us the game," Bryant said. "That's what killed us. That was a big momentum swing, the technical fouls, but we've endured that sort of thing before."
Kuester took over when Brown was ejected and coached the rest of the game and was also assessed a technical foul later in the quarter.
Lakers forward Matt Barnes appeared to exchange heated words with the Lakers coaching staff after being subbed out of the game with 6:40 remaining.
"I don't want to talk about that," Barnes said after the game.
Barnes supported Brown, however.
"I think he needed to do that. It's kind of blatant out there what's going on, so, I was glad he stepped up and did what he did," Barnes said. "It only cost us one point at the time, and I didn't see anything wrong with it. I thought it was well warranted."
Jazz forward Josh Howard missed one of the two technical free throws that Utah was awarded following Brown's ejection.
"We were out there getting handled a little bit and, I think I speak for the team, when he stepped up and did what he did we appreciated it," Barnes said.
Brown said he could not remember the last time he was thrown out of a game. He did pick up a technical foul earlier in the season when the Lakers played the Los Angeles Clippers after Blake Griffin made contact with Darius Morris and no call was made.
Coincidentally before the game, Brown was asked about his team's technical foul totals -- Bryant has six and Barnes has four -- as 13 technicals results in a one-game suspension in this lockout-shortened season.
"We don't want anybody getting techs because it's giving free points away to our opponents," Brown said. "That's why very seldom do you see me arguing or complaining to the refs because at the end of the day I know they're human, they're going to make mistakes, but in the same breath I always try to think of the guys on my team. They're busting their behinds out there and to give away a free point and any point in the game is not good."Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.