BAD REPUTATION:

Chicago's Bill Cartwright has a reputation for throwing unintentional elbows, but the Rockets' GM wants the NBA to take a closer look.

The Bulls' 7-foot-1 center elbowed Akeem Olajuwon in the eye during a Thursday night game and knocked the Rockets' center out of the lineup for at least a month.

"Any time you have a player with a history like Cartwright's, I think you have to take a closer look when something like this happens," Steve Patterson, the Rockets' general manager, told the Houston Chronicle. "Throwing elbows is a function of the style he plays."

Six times in the last two seasons, Cartwright has been responsible for sending players to the sideline with injuries, the Chronicle reported.

No fines will be levied for Thursday's incident. Yesterday, the Rockets activated F Matt Bullard to replace Olajuwon on the roster. Bullard, a 6-foot-10 rookie from Iowa, has been on the injured list all season.

EATING CROW:

Charles Barkley, the league-leader in free throw attempts and misses, missed four foul shots in the final minute of Philadelphia's 102-99 loss to the Jazz Friday night.

"I'll take the blame for this one and come out ready to play tomorrow," said Barkley, who scored 35 points. "I tell my teammates to keep it close and I'll win it. That's the only rule I have and I let them down."