Lakers C Bynum suspended 2 games for flagrant foul

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The Associated Press
Sunday, March 20, 2011; 4:47 PM

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum has been suspended two games for his flagrant foul on Minnesota's Michael Beasley.

Bynum will miss Sunday's game against Portland and Tuesday's meeting with Phoenix under the suspension announced Sunday by the NBA.

Bynum was ejected Friday night during the fourth quarter of the Lakers' 106-98 win over the Timberwolves after he turned his shoulder and sent Beasley crashing to the court in a mid-air collision when Beasley drove the lane.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson said he thought the penalty was "excessive" during his club's pregame shootaround Sunday. Bynum will lose roughly $250,000 during his suspension without pay.

Los Angeles has won 11 of 12 since the All-Star break, and Bynum has raised his game considerably during the two-time champions' streak toward the playoffs. The Lakers' starting center is averaging 11.8 points, 13.0 rebounds and 2.6 blocked shots in the past 12 games, including 22 points and 15 rebounds during a win at Dallas last weekend.

Lamar Odom will start in Bynum's place, just as he did while Bynum sat out the first 28 games of the regular season following offseason surgery on his right knee. Jackson has said the 7-foot Bynum's looming presence in the middle is the key to Los Angeles' defense.

Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis said he didn't know whether Bynum should be suspended immediately after Friday's game. After seeing replays over the weekend, Rambis agreed with the ruling.

"He made no play on the ball," Rambis said Sunday before the Wolves hosted Sacramento. "It's unfortunate that things like that happen in basketball, but it was the right call. Michael is relatively lucky he didn't get more hurt than he did."

Rambis was an assistant coach with the Lakers during Bynum's first four NBA seasons, playing a large role in Bynum's development from the youngest player ever drafted by an NBA team into a talented defensive center.

Beasley limped off the court shortly after getting hurt, but X-rays on his hip and shoulder showed no damage. He's playing in Sunday's game against the Kings.


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