Kobe Bryant is confident that the NBA will rescind his league-leading 14th technical foul, which he picked up in Monday’s loss at Denver. Even if that happens, though, Bryant can’t afford too many more Ts.
Players are suspended one game upon being issued their 16th technical foul of the season. Depending on whether the NBA wipes away the technical that Bryant received at the end of the first half against the Nuggets, the Lakers’ star can get only one or two more to avoid a suspension. And once a player reaches 16, each two additional technical fouls (18, 20, 22, etc.) result in a one-game suspension.
"He has to control that," Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni told reporters in Denver. "We can't afford to lose him for a game. Not like that."
The Lakers are three games behind eighth-place Houston and 3½ games behind seventh-place Utah in the Western Conference. Los Angeles has 24 games remaining.
Referee Joey Crawford called Bryant for the technical on Monday while Kobe was talking to another official, Josh Tiven. But Bryant expects the NBA to reverse the call, as the Orange County Register reported.
Bryant came out just before the start of the third quarter and went straight to Crawford to discuss the technical. Bryant said afterward Crawford was "all the way" across the court and could not ascertain the type of talking Bryant was doing.
"We were actually just having a civil conversation about the call," Bryant said.
If the call stands, Bryant’s 14 technicals would put him two ahead of DeMarcus Cousins and three ahead of Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant. A player's count resets for the playoffs. UPDATE: The Lakers announced Tuesday that the NBA has rescinded Bryant's technical from Monday's game, ESPNLA.com reports. The decision leaves Bryant with 13 for the season, meaning he can pick up two more without being suspended.