Prior to San Antonio’s 3rd loss in a row, a 103-96 defeat at the hands of Philly, Spurs F Bruce Bowen protested his most recent one game suspension, with the Express-News’ Jeff McDonald providing the shoulder to cry on.

Vehemently denying the league’s assertion that he had purposefully kicked New Orleans guard Chris Paul, Bowen said it bothers him to be considered a dirty player.

“When people think of me, all they think about is, ‘He’s dirty,'” Bowen said. “You don’t ever want to be looked at as a player like that.”

The incident occurred in the third quarter of the Spurs’ loss at New Orleans on Wednesday, when Bowen and Paul wrestled for a loose ball. Paul was called for a foul on the play, but upon viewing tape of the episode, Stu Jackson, the league’s executive vice president of basketball operations, ruled that Bowen had kicked Paul after the whistle.

The suspension ended Bowen’s league-best streaks of consecutive games played and started at 500.

At the time, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he didn’t think Bowen’s crime warranted the punishment meted out.

Bowne recalled a game in 2006 when he kicked then-Seattle guard Ray Allen in the back during a tangle ” and admitted to it. Bowen’s punishment then? A $10,000 fine and no suspension.

“I kicked Ray, and I was wrong for that, and I dealt with the consequences of that,” Bowen said. “But the consequences here were greater, and it wasn’t a kick.”

“I’m a Christian,” he said. “Sometimes when we feel like we’re wrongfully accused, you have to look at it as people we try to emulate our lives after were wrongfully accused. It’s about how you handle that, more than anything else.”

Double Viking’s Erik Armonson must be one of those wrongful accusers, not only compiling an impressive array of Bowen video nasties, but insisting in an authoritative tone, “Bowen is probably the dirtiest player in the league, and most of his tricks are foot related.”

He knows what most of the players in the league either haven’t figured out, or he’s simply more willing to use this knowledge than they are.  That knowledge, of course, is that NBA officials have so much to watch on the court that they can’t keep track of the feet of a defender all the time, particularly feet as sneaky as Bowen’s.  Not all of these offenses are purely foot-induced, and not all of them are really sneaky — some are just fucking mean — but they are all funny.  Bruce Bowen is a great defender.  He’s also a dick.