LAKER ANDREW BYNUM
LOS ANGELES (AFP)- Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum apologized Tuesday for his intentional elbow into the ribs of Dallas guard J.J. Barea in an NBA playoff game Sunday but still drew a five-game suspension.
The NBA announced Tuesday evening that Bynum would be suspended without pay for five games “for making unnecessary and excessive contact” with Barea.
Bynum was also fined $25,000 for sulkily yanking off his jersey as he left the court after being ejected from the game.
Since the incident came in the game in which the Mavericks eliminated the Lakers from the postseason, Bynum will be suspended for the first five games of the 2011-12 NBA regular season for which he is eligible and physically able to play.
With 8:21 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Lakers trailing by 32 points on Sunday, Barea drove to the basket for a layup.
Bynum slammed his right elbow into the Mavericks playmaker, leaving him sprawled on the court and in pain.
Bynum was immediately thrown out and was walked off the court and to the locker room by teammate Ron Artest.
After a loss that ended the Lakers’ bid for a third title in a row and completed a Dallas sweep of their Western Conference best-of-seven second round series, Bynum said he committed the flagrant foul because he was tired of being humiliated by Barea in particular and the Mavericks in general.
“We were getting embarrassed. They were breaking us down. So I just fouled somebody,” Bynum said. “I was just kind of salty about being embarrassed.
“For me, it was embarrassing to have the smallest guy on the court keep running down the lane and making shots.”
Having proven unable to stop the Mavericks within the rules, Bynum went beyond them. But after being slammed by sports commentators on Monday and having a chance to review videotape of his thug-like move, Bynum was repentant.
“I want to apologize for my actions at the start of the fourth quarter in Dallas on game four,” Bynum said. “They don’t represent me, my upbringing, this franchise or any of the Laker fans out there that want to watch us and want us to succeed.
“Furthermore, and more importantly, I want to actually apologize to J.J. Barea for doing that. I’m just glad that he wasn’t seriously injured in the event and all I can say is, I’ve looked at it, it’s terrible and it definitely won’t be happening again.”