With 2.2 seconds remaining in the third quarter of L.A.’s 111-94 loss at Portland, Trevor Ariza committed a hard foul on Blazers wing Rudy Fernandez. Here’s how we described the play in our running diary as it happened.
0:02.2 … Ariza committed a hard foul on Fernandez going to the hoop, but seemed to get a decent amount of ball. However, Fernandez went down really hard, and Portland’s entire team* ran over to get in Ariza’s face. It didn’t appear that any punches were thrown, but there was a great deal of pushing going on, particularly from Brandon Roy and Travis Outlaw… etc.
*To clarify, I meant Portland’s four other starters.
The replay of the incident shows that Ariza did indeed first make contact with the ball, but followed through to connect solidly with Fernandez, who stayed on the ground for a good 10 minutes (while Fernandez had movement in all of his extremities, he did complain about chest pain, as he did fall almost directly on his elbow and side). The result of the play was a flagrant two foul on Ariza, which demanded an automatic rejection, but does not mention a mandatory suspension on NBA.com’s rule page.
“Trevor went for the ball,” said Lakers head coach Phil Jackson. “That’s what you do when you’re a player. It’s just unfortunate.”
After the game, surrounded by reporters, Ariza first stated that his only concern is Fernandez’s health, explaining that there was definitely no intent to injure, and that his thoughts were with Portland’s rookie from Spain. He went on to say this:
L.A.’s other potential concern following the incident is the question of whether or not Lamar Odom left the bench enough to warrant a suspension by the NBA. Odom certainly didn’t think so.
“I stayed on the bench,” he said. “I stood up, but I stood right there … (The league) will see the replay … I (didn’t) go anywhere. No intent.”
Odom added that L.A. might want to start treating every team as if they’re the Boston Celtics, but all in all, we’ll surely we’ll hear more about it on Tuesday.