Dallas Mavericks forward Mark Aguirre refused to re-enter a
ATLANTA (AP) _ Dallas Mavericks forward Mark Aguirre refused to re-enter a Thursday night game against the Atlanta Hawks after a second-quarter incident in which he said Coach Dick Motka benched him for helping an opponent to his feet.
Aguirre, who scored 12 points in the first quarter, was inserted into the game with 5:02 left in the second period. He was replaced 43 seconds later, shortly after he and Atlanta’s Dominique Wilkins collided under the Hawks’ basket.
Play continued after the collision, but Aguirre went to Wilkins to help him to his feet. Wilkins was not hurt in the collision.
″I ran into Dominique Wilkins very hard,″ Aguirre said. ″Dominique is a friend of mine, and I thought I had really hurt him because I’m a pretty powerful young man.
″For me to be snatched out of the game just for picking someone up is really disturbing to me and I can’t play under those kinds of conditions,″ he said.
Asked about the incident, Motta said: ″He said he didn’t want to play any more. I like guys to play. I’ve never begged anyone.″
Motta and Aguirre have clashed in previous seasons over Aguirre’s style of play, but the coach had been lauding Aguirre as a top player this year.
″It’s disappointing because I really tried an entirely different approach with it this year,″ Motta said. ″My only goal ever has been for him to attain greatness.″
Motta suspended Dale Ellis for one game this season when he refused to enter the late stages of a game after spending several games on the bench.
Dallas won Thursday night’s game 120-108.