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 Monday, April 3
Childs gets two games, $15,000; Kobe one, $5,000
Associated Press

 NEW YORK -- Chris Childs of the New York Knicks and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers were fined and suspended by the NBA on Monday for fighting.

Childs was suspended without pay for two games and fined $15,000. Bryant was suspended without pay for one game, which based on his $9 million salary for the season will cost him $100,000, and fined $5,000.

Chris Childs, Kobe Bryant
New York's Chris Childs throws a punch at the Lakers' Kobe Bryant during a third-quarter scuffle.

NBA vice president Rod Thorn said Childs instigated the fight and threw punches during Sunday's nationally televised game. Bryant was disciplined for responding with a punch.

The skirmish in Los Angeles happened with 43 seconds left in the third quarter and the Lakers leading 71-60. The Lakers won 106-82, their 28th victory in 29 games.

Childs will not play Thursday at home against Washington and Friday in Orlando. Bryant will sit out Tuesday's game in Phoenix.

"The fine, I really don't care much about," Bryant said Monday at the Lakers practice facility in El Segundo, Calif., before the team left for Phoenix. "The fact that I'm missing a game is what I'm really concerned about. I'm really upset about that."

Bryant did, however, acknowledge the suspension was deserved.

"I think it's justified, violence is not the way," he said when asked about the NBA policy that mandates a suspension for throwing a punch, no matter the circumstances.

"We have to set an example for children who are watching to turn the other cheek, as hard as it may be, and understand if you don't do that, there will be consequences.

"I'm not pro-fighting, by any means, but if it comes to that point, you have to do what you have to do."

Bryant said the incident started when Childs was holding him.

"So I got him off me with an elbow, it's part of the game," Bryant said. "It pretty much happens on every play. Things kind of escalated and he decided to throw a punch. I didn't think he was going to take a suspension.

"He tried to head-butt me, I backed him up a little bit and he decided to throw a punch, then run."

When asked if Childs was trying to get under his skin and see how he'd react, Bryant replied, "I don't think so. I don't think he's that smart. If someone's going to push you, you have to show where your limit is."

Lakers coach Phil Jackson came to Bryant's defense after the game.

"It is pretty much a natural reaction for a player who takes a punch and doesn't see it coming, then he is going to react to it," he said. "I am sorry about that, but it is probably human instinct."

The fight began when Bryant came around a screen and appeared to clip Childs in the chin with an elbow. While play continued, the two exchanged words and bumped chests.

Childs threw two punches, appearing to hit Bryant in the neck and upper chest. Bryant missed with a punch. Neither player was hurt.

The game was delayed for nearly five minutes before the players left the court -- Bryant angrily, Childs more peacefully.

"He hit me in the elbow in the mouth, and I just reacted," Childs said after the game. "He does it a lot and never gets called for it. I just had to defend myself. I wish it hadn't happened, but there's nothing I can do about it now."

The game became more physical in the third quarter, and Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal blamed the Knicks for the confrontation.

"Everyone knows Kobe is a clean-cut kid," he said. "He was protecting himself."


Shaq, Lakers take the fight out of Knicks

 Kobe Bryant and Chris Childs mix it up in L.A.
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