Report: Artest suspended for 30 games
Detroit, MI (Sports Network) – According to a broadcast report, the NBA has
suspended Indiana’s Ron Artest for 30 games and teammates Stephen Jackson and
Jermaine O’Neal 20 games apiece for their part in a brawl between the Pacers
and the Pistons on Friday night.
WDIV-TV in Detroit is also reporting that Detroit’s Ben Wallace will be
suspended five games.
The official announcement by the league is expected to come Sunday 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
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