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LAKERS REPORT

Bad Time for Fox to Get Technical

March 21, 2000|TIM KAWAKAMI

MIAMI — It happened fast, and not at a particularly opportune time for either Rick Fox or the Lakers.

Having blown past the Miami Heat with a giant third quarter, and trying to put the game away, ahead by 10 points early in the fourth, the Lakers were hit with a last crisis.

After Fox complained to referee Derek Richardson about an offensive foul call, Richardson gave him an immediate double-technical foul and threw him out of the game with 10:48 left to play.

"All I've got to say is I agree with Doc Rivers," Fox said with a smile, referring to the Orlando Magic coach recently fined for criticizing the referees.

Shaquille O'Neal walked by and joked that he'd pay half of Fox's fine if Fox went ahead and blasted the referees, but Fox demurred, adding only:

"I think referees get frustrated just like we do, especially when we're having bad games. It could've been two individuals colliding at the wrong time of the game."

Laker Coach Phil Jackson said he was most disturbed that Richardson gave the Heat a chance for two free points at such a critical point.

"I've never seen a guy get thrown out of the game on one verbal retort back to a referee," Jackson said. "Or if he is thrown out, it's one technical.

'It's not usually two foul shots. But he felt he wanted to give Miami two foul shots, for whatever reason. That was really my argument. If you want to throw the guy out, fine, but don't give him two technical foul shots."

The ejection forced Glen Rice back into the game, and he had to play 42 minutes despite nursing a sore left Achilles' tendon since Sunday's game in New York.

*

Where did that third-quarter, O'Neal-to-Kobe Bryant, jumping, 20-foot lob pass come from?

Bryant said that after he got back to the bench, even teammate Brian Shaw said he was shocked by the play, and the Miami players appeared not to realize that Bryant was about to throw down the dunk after O'Neal's line-drive pass across the lane from the left post area.

"We've been talking about it all year long," Bryant said with a grin. "Like, we do it in practice sometimes just to mess around.

"And tonight it was a perfect situation for it, and he lobbed it up there . . . Big fella and I, we joke about it all the time."

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