Bryant missed an 18-foot fadeaway shot that would have tied the game at the Atlanta Hawks with 3.9 seconds remaining. He landed on the foot of defender Dahntay Jones, twisting the left ankle, leaving Bryant out of action indefinitely and accusing Jones of dirty play. No foul was called, and the Hawks won 96-92.
The league said last night that Jones should have drawn a foul.
“After review at the league office, video replay confirmed that referees missed a foul call on Jones as he challenged Bryant’s shot and did not give him the opportunity to land cleanly back on the floor,” the NBA said on its website. “Bryant should have been granted two free throws.”
Bryant, 34, said the officials were responsible for protecting shooters from such dangerous plays and that he couldn’t get his mind past having to “wait a year to get revenge.”
Bryant and Jones have had run-ins before. During the 2009 Western Conference finals, Jones tripped Bryant and pushed him in the back, receiving flagrant fouls for each.
Bryant, whose 27.5 points per game are tied for second in the NBA, said on Twitter that he slept for one hour the night after the ankle injury while treating it. In another post he said: “I’ve cried foul play enough Big boy pants time for me.”
Jones, in his own Twitter posts, said he didn’t try to injure Bryant.
The Lakers, tied for eighth place in the conference with a 34-32 record, play at the Indiana Pacers (40-24) tonight.
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