Saturday , Nov , 20 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

NBA suspends Artest, Jackson, O’Neal and Wallace indefinitely

New York, NY (Sports Network) – The NBA has suspended Ron Artest, Stephen
Jackson and Jermaine O’Neal of Indiana as well as Detroit’s Ben Wallace, all
indefinitely, for their parts in a brawl between the Pacers and the Pistons
Friday night.

Indiana defeated Detroit 97-82 in a game that was stopped late in the fourth
quarter due to a fight on the court that spilled into the stands and included
the fans.

League commissioner David Stern called the brawl “shocking, repulsive and
inexcusable,” on Saturday.

The Pacers led a seemingly calm game by 15 points with 45 seconds left and
then things unraveled. Wallace was fouled by Artest and the Pistons center
took exception to what he deemed a hard foul and gave Artest a two-handed push
to the face.

After that, the fighting continued by the scorers’ table as players came off
both benches to continue the melee on the court. The Detroit fans then lost
all control and began throwing cups filled with liquid and ice at Artest, who
was surprisingly staying out of harm’s way on top of the scorer’s table.
Artest was hit in the head with a flying cup and immediately raced into the
stands where he started punching whom he thought was the culprit.

Jackson followed into the crowd, along with several Pacer players, and started
swinging away at the unruly fans.

O’Neal was also involved in a fight on his way to the locker room. O’Neal
apparently knocked a fan out cold after being hit with a foreign object and
charges might be pressed on the All-Star.

After security tried to get the players out of the crowd, the game was called
with 45 seconds remaining. However, the fighting was not over as Detroit fans
continued to pelt the Pacers as the players were being escorted into the
locker room. The players and coaches were finally able to make it into the
tunnel, but not before all tempers were lost.

This was the first game between these two teams since last year’s Eastern
Conference championship. The Pistons won last year’s series 4-2 before
eventually winning the NBA title.

Indiana will next visit Motown on March 25 and hosts the Pistons on Christmas