Magic's Alston, Lakers' Fisher Are Suspended One Game
Friday, May 8, 2009
The NBA suspended Orlando Magic point guard Rafer Alston and Los Angeles Lakers point guard Derek Fisher one game each without pay yesterday for separate incidents on Wednesday night.
Alston was suspended for hitting Boston's Eddie House in the back of the head with 48.6 seconds to go in the third quarter of the Magic's 112-94 loss to the Celtics in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal at TD Banknorth Garden. Fisher got suspended for plowing through Houston's Luis Scola with his shoulder and head with 13.2 seconds left in the third quarter of the Lakers' 111-98 win in Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinal at Staples Center.
NBA Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Stu Jackson also announced that Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was assessed a flagrant foul penalty one for elbowing Houston forward Ron Artest in the chest in the fourth quarter of that game.
Both Alston and Fisher will serve their suspensions today.
Orlando center Dwight Howard was the only player to get suspended in the first round of the playoffs -- when he threw an elbow at Philadelphia center Samuel Dalembert's head -- but the second round has now produced two suspensions, as well as a $25,000 fine assessed to Denver's Kenyon Martin after he shoved Dirk Nowitzki to the floor on Sunday.
"It's clear that during the playoffs, as each game unfolds and in subsequent rounds, the intensity, the aggression, the stakes, they all rise," Jackson said. "Because of all those factors, sometimes players behave on the floor in such a way that's counter to our rules and that's where we have to intervene to make sure that the game is played safely for all players."
Alston will miss Game 3 in Orlando of the best-of-seven series -- tied 1-1 -- for striking House, although he only received a technical foul at the time. Alston claimed that he was retaliating because House "deliberately" elbowed him after hitting a three-pointer. House was given a technical during the game for arguing with Alston, but Jackson said that House's contact was "minimal at best," adding that suspending Alston was not a difficult decision.
"The rule here is very clear," Jackson said. "Any player who swings his hand, whether it's open or closed fist, and also whether or not it connects, will automatically be suspended for a minimum of one game."
Fisher, the president of the NBA player's union, was ejected after receiving a flagrant foul penalty two when he floored Scola, who was attempting to set a pick. Fisher, who will miss Game 3 in Houston, suffered a cut on his head.
The Lakers, tied 1-1, will have Bryant after he elbowed Artest during a tussle for a rebound. Artest was called for a foul, but claimed that Bryant hit him in the neck. He was ejected after running down Bryant to yell at him. Jackson said the league interviewed both players and Artest didn't receive any further punishment.
-- TROUBLE IN DALLAS: Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki offered no explanation about the arrest of a woman at his home on Wednesday.
"I'm going through a tough time in my personal life right now," Nowitzki said after Cristal Taylor, 37, was arrested on a probation violation and theft of services warrants. Dallas Coach Rick Carlisle said he didn't expect this matter to affect the team, which trails 2-0 to the Denver Nuggets.
News services contributed to this report.