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WIZARDS INSIDER

Stevenson Is Fined For Gesture to Throat

Cleveland routs Washington, 105-88, in Game 6 at Verizon Center to knock the Wizards out of the playoffs for the third straight year.

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By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The NBA has fined Washington Wizards guard DeShawn Stevenson $25,000 for making a "menacing gesture" during Sunday's loss in Game 4 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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Following a first-quarter basket, Stevenson raised his hands as he ran back on defense and then made a throat-slashing gesture in the direction of the Cleveland bench. Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce also was fined $25,000 for a gesture he made during the fourth quarter of Boston's loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night.

The fines were levied by Stu Jackson, NBA executive vice president of basketball operations.

Stevenson has been at the center of controversy ever since he called Cavaliers star LeBron James "overrated" following a Washington win over Cleveland on March 13.

After dunking in Game 1 of this series, James mimicked one of Stevenson's signature moves by waving his hand in front of his face, and on Sunday, Stevenson was assessed a flagrant 1 foul after hitting James in the head with his right forearm while James attempted a second-quarter layup.

Following Sunday's game, James said that the Wizards have been "trying to hurt LeBron James" throughout the series.

Yesterday, Wizards center Brendan Haywood, who was assessed a flagrant 2 foul and ejected from Game 2 for contact he made with James, responded to that comment.

But first, Haywood puckered his face up like a baby and did a mocking imitation of James.

"Oooh, they're trying to hurt me," Haywood said before turning serious. "C'mon man, this is the playoffs. He wears 23 and he wants to be Michael Jordan. I respect that because he's a great player. But look what Mike went through. Mike got fouled way worse than this. You know what I'm saying? Nobody is trying to hurt him. Everybody is trying to play basketball, trying to win, trying to play tough. Leave it alone."

Haywood also said that he can't remember a player ever complaining so much about physical play.

"When I was growing up, I never heard that," Haywood said. "I never heard Magic [Johnson] say that. Or Mike. Or Larry [Bird]."

Gilbert Arenas, who maintains a friendship with James, also refuted James's claim that the Wizards are out to hurt him.

"I've known him since he came into the league and no one is going to hurt him," Arenas said. "He has a big body, so they hit him a little harder. You can't hit him like you hit me because he has that 6-9, 260-pound frame. But, no one is trying to injure him, no one is trying to put him out of the game."


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