Shaq, Barkley Suspended


Shaquille O'Neal of the Los Angeles Lakers and Charles Barkley of the Houston Rockets were each suspended without pay for one game by the NBA on Thursday, the result of their fight beneath the basket a day earlier.

The NBA also fined O'Neal $10,000 for throwing a punch at Barkley and fined the Rockets star $5,000 for throwing a ball at O'Neal. Both players were ejected from the game, O'Neal's second ejection in five games this season.

The NBA said the respective suspensions would be served Friday as the Rockets visit the Lakers.

The fight broke out at Houston with nine minutes left in the first half when Barkley drove to the basket and had his shot blocked by O'Neal. Barkley retrieved the ball and was shoved by O'Neal.

Barkley turned and threw the ball at O'Neal and the two went after each other, rolling onto the floor before others stepped in.

"He did one of his Charles-like things. He just didn't want to play tonight. Obviously he is frustrated the way his team is playing. He wasn't doing much and his team is 0-5," O'Neal said.

"I can't let him hit me and get away with it," Barkley said. "My grandma would be mad at me if I let him get away with it. I had to defend myself."

John Black, a spokesman for the Lakers, said the team would have no comment on any punishment levied by the NBA.

Black also said the NBA hasn't been asked to look into flagrant fouls against O'Neal, which the player and coach Phil Jackson say have occurred.

General manager Mitch Kupchak and vice president of basketball operations Jerry West "talk to the league office all the time about things that are happening," Black said. "They make their opinions known. To ask are we going to file an official complaint or ask for an investigation, the answer would be no."

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