Portland’s video use investigated
The NBA is investigating the actions of the Portland Trail Blazers over a pregame video that showed Trevor Ariza’s flagrant foul on the scoreboard screen a few minutes before the Lakers and Portland played Friday at the Rose Garden.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank said Saturday that teams were not permitted to show replays involving flagrant fouls, altercations or hard physical contact from previous games.
“We will be looking into the matter,” Frank said.
The Trail Blazers, who beat the Lakers, 106-98, could be fined by the league.
Ariza had been vilified by Trail Blazers fans on Portland talk-radio shows leading up to Friday’s game because of his flagrant foul on Rudy Fernandez as the guard went up for a layup when the teams played last month. A scuffle ensued in front of the Lakers’ bench and Fernandez was carted off on a stretcher.
Ariza was ejected from that game but not suspended by the league. Lakers forward Lamar Odom was suspended for a game because he briefly left the bench while the scuffle was taking place.
It wasn’t a great surprise that Ariza was booed loudly during pregame introductions Friday, which took place a couple of minutes after the replay of the foul and scuffle were shown. Phil Jackson wasn’t at the game because of health reasons, but that didn’t prevent the Lakers’ coach from admonishing the Trail Blazers a day later.
“That’s something that NBA clubs are not supposed to do, show video before a game that incites crowds,” Jackson said Saturday. “Portland took a big risk doing that, and that’s a finable thing from the league. That’s something that they try to prevent in the spirit of good sportsmanship, but Portland has been like that.
They’ve created that situation, and I think Trevor was affected by it, unfortunately. I don’t think he had the kind of game I like to see him have.”
Jackson stayed in Los Angeles because of swelling in his lower right leg. Assistant Kurt Rambis coached the Lakers against Portland, but Jackson will return to the sidelines today against Memphis.
Ariza had only four points as the Lakers lost for the eighth consecutive time at Portland. He said he did not see the video and claimed not to be affected by the crowd, which booed almost every time he touched the ball.
“I was just playing,” Ariza said.
Uh-oh, here come the Memphis Grizzlies.
They’re not the Trail Blazers, who have the Lakers’ number in Portland. Nor are they one of the beasts of the East.
Instead, the Grizzlies merely happen to be on the court whenever Andrew Bynum gets injured.
Last season, the Lakers center suffered a briefly dislocated left kneecap when he came down on Odom’s foot while reaching back for a rebound against Memphis.
This season, Bynum was lost for nearly 10 weeks when he suffered a torn knee ligament after Kobe Bryant crashed into his other knee, also against Memphis.
Bynum laughed when asked if he would sit out tonight’s game against Memphis.
“I’m playing,” he said.
Isn’t he worried about some sort of injury jinx?
“Not at all,” he said. “It’s not Jan. 13th or 31st, so I should be good on that one.”
Those would be the dates of his injuries.
Bynum’s teammates are well aware of the Memphis connection.
“I’m not throwing him one pass,” Bryant said.
Some reporters laughed.
“Why are you laughing?” Bryant said, now smiling. “No lobs. Nothing. If he so much as jumps off the floor, I’m smacking him.”
Then Bryant laughed.
“I told him he shouldn’t play, actually,” he said.
Bynum had 13 points and six rebounds against Portland after getting 16 points and seven rebounds against Denver the previous night.
“I felt all right for a back to back,” Bynum said. “No fatigue. I just missed a bunch of [easy shots]. I’ve just got to work on my touch around the rim.”
Derek Fisher has shot poorly in recent games, but Jackson blamed it on less playing time.
Some of Fisher’s minutes have been gobbled up by Shannon Brown, reducing Fisher from a little more than 30 minutes per game to an average of 22 over the last four games.
“I think it’s not playing the kind of minutes he’s used to, so he’s coming off a little cold or not quite as active as he normally would be,” Jackson said.
Fisher has made only one of his last 13 three-point tries and is three for 22 overall in the last four games.
Times staff writer Broderick Turner contributed to this report.
On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 570, 1330.
Where: Staples Center.
Records: Lakers 63-17, Grizzlies 23-56.
Record vs. Grizzlies: 3-0.
Update: The Lakers’ victories over the Grizzlies are by an average of 12 points this season. The Grizzlies lost to the Lakers at Staples Center last month, 99-89, ending a 5-2 run against the Lakers at Staples Center. Rookie O.J. Mayo is averaging 18.2 points per game for the Grizzlies.
-- Mike Bresnahan