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Pietrus, Gasol feud over foul

THE row over the foul by Mickael Pietrus on Pau Gasol in the waning seconds of Game 4 of the NBA finals continued on Saturday with both Europeans offering differing opinions of the play.

"The intention of that foul was hurtful," said Gasol, the Los Angeles Lakers' Spanish forward. "If I was unable to hold on to the rim I would have fallen and got injured. No doubt."

But Pietrus, Orlando Magic's guard from France, said: "It wasn't a dirty play. It was just a French caress."

The play occurred with 3.4 seconds left in Los Angeles's 99-91 overtime victory on Thursday that gave the Lakers a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Pietrus, 28, raced down the court and whacked Gasol in the back with both forearms as the Spaniard was dunking the ball.

Exchanged words

He was called for a flagrant foul yet officials did not suspend the six-year NBA veteran. The two players approached each other, exchanged words, and were assessed technical fouls.

Magic forward Rashard Lewis suggested Pietrus may have been upset that Gasol was dunking the ball with so little time left on the clock. His basket put the Lakers up 98-91. "He was probably showing a little frustration," said Lewis. "It was disrespectful in that situation. At that point in the game, you hold on to the ball, not dunk it."

Gasol seethed when he learned of Lewis's assessment. "It was a game where you have a chance to finish and score, you do it," said the 28-year-old.


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