Easy trumph for Los Angeles over Seattle
About the ejection, Kobe said: "I'm disappointed, but I'm not going to comment on the official. I don't want to get fined anymore, watch the replay."
But while Bryant's ban became a secondary chapter, the main focus is the surging L.A. Lakers, who moved back on top of the Western Conference and now have their longest streak since winning 11 straight near the end of the 2003-04 season -- the last time they reached the NBA Finals.
What's more, a lot of this charge has come on the road. Los Angeles won its seventh straight away from home finished a stretch with 12 of 13 on the road an astonishing 11-2.
Indeed, just a month ago, the Lakers led the West for two days. Now, with seven weeks left in the season, should it matter that they're back on top?
"From our standpoint, we have a home schedule that is pretty good," Lakers coach Phil Jackson admitted. "Now we are in a situation where we can control our own destiny and that's what really matters."
Spaniard star Pau Gasol added 22 points, and Lamar Odom had 19 points and 11 rebounds. Bryant didn't get to see his teammates finish this one off after picking up a pair of technicals from Forte with 4 minutes left in the third part and the Lakers leading 88-57.
The popular Kobe was furious after not getting a foul while fighting for an offensive rebound, and appeared to keep jawing at Forte as Seattle raced the other direction, even though Bryant claimed he said absolutely nothing.
We must notice that Seattle's Earl Watson missed a shot, but Mickael Gelabale grabbed the offensive rebound. With a lull in the action, Forte popped Bryant with a technical. Not content to leave it at that, Bryant followed Forte into the backcourt and moments later was given his second technical and his ejection.
It's important to mention that Gelabale led the Sonics with a career-high 21 points, making 10 of 16 shots. He was about the only Sonics player to make anything. Seattle shot just 40 percent, punctuated by newbie Kevin Durant, who missed his first seven shots. A couple of fourth-quarter dunks made Durant's stat line look a little better as he finished with 15 points. Fellow rookie Jeff Green also had 15.
The Sonics played without starting forward Chris Wilcox and newly acquired forward Donyell Marshall, both sick. What's more, reserve Damien Wilkins also didn't play after falling on his wrist Friday night against Portland.