Suns forward Raja Bell was suspended by the National Basketball Association for Game 6 of Phoenix's playoff series with the Lakers for his clothesline foul on Kobe Bryant late in Tuesday's 114-97 win over Los Angeles. NBA Senior Vice President Basketball Operations Stu Jackson suspended Bell without pay for the incident.
If the Suns can defeat the Lakers Thursday and force a seventh game back in Phoenix on Saturday, Bell will be eligible to return.
Bell, who claims Bryant elbowed him in the jaw a few minutes before his retaliatory action, was assessed a Flagrant Foul Penalty Two for the incident and was ejected with 7:33 remaining in the fourth period.
A day after he clotheslined Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant in the fourth quarter of Game 5, the Phoenix Suns' Raja Bell was still fighting mad.
Bell on Wednesday called Bryant "a pompous and arrogant individual. I have no respect for him."
Bell said he lost his cool because Bryant repeatedly had elbowed him in the face.
"When I get hit in the face multiple times you crossed the line with me. That's not basketball," Bell said. "It's a personal thing when someone continually hits you in the face. He tried to bully me."
Bell went on to say that, "there doesn't seem to be any boundaries or limitations to what he (Bryant) can do to me."
Bell also said he was angered by a comment from Lakers coach Phil Jackson. Bell said that when he complained to an official in the fourth quarter about Bryant's wayward elbows, Jackson told him, "You (expletive-deleted) deserved it."
"I thought that was kind of bush-league from such a good coach,” Bell said. “That was enough for me.”
As of 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Suns still hadn't heard from the NBA regarding a possible suspension for Bell.
Coach Mike D'Antoni said that if Bell is suspended, Leandro Barbosa will replace him in the starting lineup. Game 6 is Thursday night in Los Angeles. The Lakers hold a 3-2 series lead.