NEW YORK - Kobe Bryant was suspended one game without pay by the NBA yesterday for striking San Antonio's Manu Ginobili in the face during Sunday's game.
With his Los Angeles Lakers in New York to play the Knicks, Bryant requested an "immediate hearing" with the league office to appeal the suspension. But his request was denied because it would have deviated from standard procedure.
Said Bryant: "I've been waiting to play here. It's always been a fun place for me to play here, and I'm surprised. Shocked, by it, actually. I unintentionally caught Manu Ginobili. What do you say? It's a basketball game. You unintentionally catch people with elbows every once in a while."
"He does have the right to an appeal at a later date," said Stu Jackson, the league's chief disciplinarian for on-court actions.
Jackson disagreed with Bryant and offered the NBA's explanation during a conference call: "Some of the determining factors were the fact that there was contact made with Ginobili above the shoulders, and the fact that this particular action by Kobe was an unnatural basketball motion."
Grizzlies waive Jones
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Memphis Grizzlies waived guard Eddie Jones yesterday after agreeing to a buyout of his contract.
A former Temple player, Jones was believed to be considering signing with several teams, including the Miami Heat, for whom he played before being traded to Memphis prior to the 2005-06 season. He will be eligible to sign with a new team tomorrow.
Last night's gamesKnicks 99, Lakers 94
NEW YORK - Playing without the suspended Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles saw its late rally fall short in its season-high third straight loss, to New York.
Without his 28.4 points per game, the Lakers shot only 43.5 percent and lost for the fourth time in five games.
Pacers 103, Celtics 96
INDIANAPOLIS - Jamaal Tinsley scored a season-high 28 points as Indiana beat Boston and handed them their 12th straight loss.
Jermaine O'Neal added 25 points and eight rebounds for the Pacers, who won for the fourth time in five games.
Heat 110, Bucks 80
MIAMI - Dwyane Wade scored 28 points and Miami beat Milwaukee to snap a three-game losing streak.
Wade played only three quarters and shot 12 of 17 from the field.
Wizards 104, Pistons 99
WASHINGTON - Gilbert Arenas had 36 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds as Washington beat Detroit in a midseason, first-place showdown, a victory tempered by a knee injury to Antawn Jamison.
The win kept the Wizards ahead of the Pistons atop the Eastern Conference and gave the teams a 2-2 split in the season series.
Cavaliers 124, Warriors 97
CLEVELAND - Sasha Pavlovic scored a career-high 24 points filling in for the injured LeBron James and Cleveland rolled without its superstar, pounding Golden State.
James missed his second game in a less than a week with a sprained right big toe, an injury that isn't going to improve without rest.
Mavs 122, SuperSonics 102
DALLAS - Austin Croshere had a career-high 34 points and seven rebounds as Dallas beat Seattle, stretching its home winning streak to 14 games.
Dallas is two wins shy of the franchise record for consecutive home wins, set last season.