The NBA has suspended Ronnie Price for one game without pay after the Lakers guard was ejected from Los Angeles' 109-102 road loss to New Orleans on Wednesday for delivering a flagrant foul to Pelicans guard Austin Rivers.
Price will sit out the Lakers' Friday night home game against the Spurs. The one-game suspension will cause him to forfeit roughly $11,900 in salary.
With a little more than nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and the Pelicans leading 92-75, Rivers beat Price with a crossover dribble and attacked the paint from the left angle. As Rivers rose to attempt a running layup, Price swung his right hand hard across Rivers' neck in a misguided attempt to block the shot from behind, causing Rivers to crash hard to the court. Replays showed there was significant contact.
Upon a video review, the officials determined that Price's foul was a flagrant foul two, a designation that applies to contact that is deemed "unnecessary and excessive" and which requires an immediate ejection. Price, 31, departed with zero points (on 0-for-2 shooting) and three assists in 17 minutes.
Rivers, 22, was able to remain in the game, and finished with eight points (on 3-for-6 shooting) and four assists in 20 minutes.
The 1-7 Lakers are starting Jeremy Lin at point guard, as Steve Nash was lost for the season due to an ongoing back injury. Rookie guard Jordan Clarkson is available to back up Lin during Price's absence.
The NBA league office reviewed Price's foul, as it does with all flagrant fouls. The additional sanction is somewhat surprising, as Price's swing was careless but didn't seem to be intentionally malicious. Last week, Nuggets forward Darrell Arthur was suspended for one game without pay after he knocked Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters out of the air.