Work in Sports
Pacers center to sit one game for flagrant elbow
Posted: Saturday April 29, 2000 02:27 AM
NEW YORK (Ticker) -- A flagrant elbow in a blowout loss will cost Rik Smits and the top-seeded Indiana Pacers in their playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks.
The NBA today suspended the normally mild-mannered Smits one game for his flagrant elbow to the head of Milwaukee's Ervin Johnson in Thursday's playoff game at Indiana.
As a result, the Pacers will be without their best inside scorer for Game Three of their Eastern Conference series Saturday night in Milwaukee. The Bucks' stunning 104-91 win evened the best-of-five Eastern Conference series at one game apiece.
The incident occurred with 7:38 remaining in the third quarter of Milwaukee's 104-91 win at Indiana in Game Two.
It was an embarrassing loss for the top-seeded Pacers, who trailed by 30 points when Smits came flying down the lane and struck an unsuspecting Johnson with a vicious elbow with 7:38 left in the third quarter.
Both swung their hands at each other, but did not throw any punches. Smits was ejected for the flagrant foul and Johnson received a technical for retaliating.
Although Smits was suspended for Saturday's game, the ruling will not please Bucks coach George Karl.
"He shouldn't be suspended from one game but from two," Karl said after Thursday's game. "That elbow was totally flagrant."
Pacers coach Larry Bird did not believe the incident even merited an ejection for Smits.
"He's not going to miss any games," Bird said after Thursday's game. "I thought it (the ejection) was a bad call."
The absence of Smits is especially significant in a best-of-five series since a loss on Saturday would put the top-seeded Pacers on the brink of elimination.
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