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Was Dahntay Jones' foul injuring Kobe Bryant a dirty play?

March 14, 2013|By Eric Pincus
  • Vanessa Bryant sent out this photo of Kobe Bryant's ankle on her Instagram account.
Vanessa Bryant sent out this photo of Kobe Bryant's ankle on her Instagram… (Instagram )

Was the Dahntay Jones play that injury Kobe Bryant dirty?

According to Bryant on his Twitter feed . . . absolutely.

The Lakers guard suffered a severely sprained left ankle in the final seconds of the Lakers 96-92 loss Wednesday to the Atlanta Hawks.

With his team down two, Bryant took a baseline fadeaway that didn't drop.  Jones stepped under the jumping Bryant, who landed on Jones' foot.

Bryant's wife, Vanessa Bryant, posted a picture on Instagram depicting a very swollen, discolered ankle.  The Lakers guard is out indefinitely with the sprain.

Jones had a different perspective on the play, writing that Bryant illegally kicked out his right leg.

Naturally, Bryant didn't see it that way (responding to a follower on Twitter).

Bryant then passed on a link to a video that showed Jones intentionally tripping him in a playoff game against the Denver Nuggets in 2009.  Jones was suspended a game retroactively.

In an indirect back and forth, Jones replied on Twitter.

Jones didn't apologize for the play but he tweeted that he did not intend to injure Bryant on the play.

Who is correct?  Bryant did kick out his right leg as part of his shooting motion -- although it was away from Jones to Bryant's right.

Jones definitely stepped under Bryant, who was in the air.  By NBA standards, it was a dangerous defensive play.  It didn't look malicious but judging intent is difficult at best.

The precedent set in 2009 suggests Jones' is capable of a dirty play but the end result for the Lakers is the same regardless.  Bryant is out and his team has a lot of work to do to stay in the playoff hunt until he returns.

After the game, Bryant noted this was the worst sprain he can remember dating back to his 2009 sprain in the NBA Finals in a similar play by Jalen Rose.

Bruce Bowen, the former San Antonio Spurs guard/forward, and one of the best defenders on Bryant through the years, gave his take on the play on ESPN Radio.

"I thought at first, [Jones] just contested the shot and Kobe came down on top of him.  But then, of course, with the technology of TV that we have and the angles, you saw Kobe fade away and you saw Dahntay Jones kind of continue to move in his direction," said Bowen, now an ESPN NBA analyst.  "It should have been a foul call there.  I'm not saying that's dirty on Dahntay's behalf.  A dirty play is taking the guy out of the air where he really has no place to come down."

Lakers fans might argue Bowen shouldn't be giving advice on dirty play, but that's a debate for another time . . .


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Email Eric Pincus at and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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