Coach Mike Brown could face suspension in wake of ejection
Will Mike Brown coach them?
The Lakers coach could face a suspension after appearing to bump referee Zach Zarba early in the fourth quarter of a 96-87 loss to Utah on Saturday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
Brown was upset after watching Utah guard Earl Watson mug Pau Gasol for a steal that led to a dunk by Derrick Favors with 8 minutes 35 seconds left in the game. The Lakers coach bounded onto the court and received two technical fouls, resulting in his first ejection of the season.
"I thought [Watson] ran through him to get the ball," Brown said later after watching a replay in the locker room.
The Jazz went on to score the next nine points to complete a 14-0 run. Gasol, who finished with 24 points and 16 rebounds, agreed with his coach's assessment that he was fouled on the play.
"There was definitely contact," Gasol said. "There was definitely a possibility for the ref to make the call. He didn't make it."
Brown said he apologized to his team but did not think his actions resulted in the defeat.
"I shouldn't have done what I did because it put our team in a deeper hole than it was in," Brown said. "It's not good to do that. It's not setting a good example or setting the right tone for our team."
Kobe Bryant, who scored 11 of his 26 points during a late comeback in which the Lakers trimmed their deficit to six points, pinned the defeat on a discrepancy in rebounding, not a loss of composure. Utah had 18 offensive rebounds and outrebounded the Lakers overall, 50-42.
But the big story was Brown, who might be watching his team play Philadelphia on Monday from a fancy hotel room.
"I don't know," Brown said when asked if he bumped Zarba. "I'm just upset about the loss."
--Ben Bolch in Salt Lake City
Photo: Lakers Coach Mike Brown is restrained by security after getting ejected for bumping referee Zach Zarba in the fourth quarter Saturday night in Utah. Credit: George Frey / EPA