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More Blazers trouble

Randolph suspended two games, fined for practice brawl

Posted: Thursday April 03, 2003 2:11 PM
Updated: Thursday April 03, 2003 10:55 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Portland forward Zach Randolph was suspended Thursday for two games and fined $100,000 by the team after he punched teammate Ruben Patterson in the face during practice.

It was the latest in a string of discipline problems for the Trail Blazers.

Randolph will also lose almost $25,000 in salary for the two-game suspension.

The fight Wednesday began with an argument between rookie Qyntel Woods and Patterson, with Randolph stepping in later.

"This was pretty serious," Trail Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks said Thursday.

Portland is a half-game ahead of Minnesota for fourth place in the Western Conference, vying for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs with nine games to go.

The Trail Blazers, troubled by assorted legal and drug matters this season, said in a statement before Thursday's home game with Utah that players need to take responsibility for their conduct.

"While these types of disagreements happen in practice during the course of a season due to the physical and competitive nature of basketball, this instance crossed the line, and this type of behavior will not be tolerated by our organization without the individuals being held accountable for their actions," Blazers president and general manager Bob Whitsitt said.

Randolph, a reserve, did not attend Thursday's practice and Patterson quickly left without speaking to reporters. The team acknowledged Patterson was hit in the face, but would not elaborate.

"We have to find a way to stay together," Cheeks said. "My job is to make sure this team stays together. I need to find a way to make sure the team is not splintered. We have learned that when things happen, we have to deal with them."

Scottie Pippen said the fight followed a "heated practice."

"It's hard to say what really happened," he said. "If Zach had a chance to relive that moment he would make better choices."

Added teammate Derek Anderson: "I just saw them break it up. Whatever happened, it's unfortunate."

Last Saturday, Woods was cited by Portland police on marijuana possession charges after a traffic stop. Rasheed Wallace and Damon Stoudamire were cited for misdemeanor marijuana possession after a traffic stop in Washington state on Nov. 22. Both cases were recently resolved in court.

Patterson was arrested on suspicion of domestic assault on Nov. 25. Charges were not pursued at the request of his wife, but the Trail Blazers fined him $100,000.

Wallace was suspended for seven games by the NBA for threatening an official after a Jan. 15 game. It was the longest suspension for a matter not involving drugs or physical contact.

Bonzi Wells was suspended by the team for one game after arguing with Cheeks during practice on March 10.

 
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