NBA Roundup: Kobe Bryant, Scapegoat?

Notes on Thursday's games in the National Basketball Association ...

We'd Hate For This To Damage Kobe's Reputation. Well no, now that you've asked, Kobe Bryant doesn't think his one-game suspension was warranted at all. The Lakers' Bryant called his punishment for elbowing Minnesota's Marko Jaric on Tuesday "ridiculous. That's what I'm concerned about," Bryant said. "I don't want to have that reputation. I'm concerned about that. For them to try to make an example out of me is upsetting." Bryant made his comments to the LA Times. "To suspend me is to say, 'He did it intentionally.' Let's think about this with the rational brain. We have 10 guys on the roster. We're starting this road trip now. We've dropped two games on this [four-game] road trip. Everybody's out. It's a close game. Why would I intentionally hit this kid in the face and get suspended and take our roster down to nine? It makes no sense." Seriously, he's about this far from putting up a Facebook page about it.

It Goes To Eleven. And hey, there were games yesterday, speaking of the Spurs. You remember San Antonio; the team that plays defense? Manu Ginobili had 31 points, including five 3-pointers, to lead a 100-93 win over Sacramento (sans Artest). It was San Antonio's 11th straight win.

Chicago Hope. The smart money was on the Bulls to come back strong from their worst defeat of the season on Wednesday, and voila, Ben Gordon's 25 points led a 100-76 win over Orlando. On Wednesday, Chicago lost to the Heat 100-70.

When Mascots Go To Prison. Boomer, the Indiana Pacers' furry mascot, is being sued. Key paragraph: "The employee who knew about Jackson's back surgery immediately told the mascot about the surgery, and Boomer responded by kicking at Jackson's legs, the lawsuit alleges."