Pacers’ Artest Suspended for One Game
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Indiana’s Ron Artest was suspended for one game by the NBA on Monday for leaving the bench during a confrontation in the Pacers’ playoff win over the Boston Celtics.
Artest will miss Game 2 of the first-round Eastern Conference series Tuesday night.
With 8:01 left in the second quarter of Saturday’s game, Artest briefly left the bench when he saw teammate Jermaine O’Neal thrown to the floor by Boston’s Brandon Hunter.
Artest started onto the court when he saw O’Neal lose his composure, but turned and headed back to the bench after about four steps.
``It’s a rule. The NBA has rules you have to abide by,″ Artest said Monday, when he also was named NBA defensive player of the year. ``It’s a learning experience, and I’ll just have to get back at it (in Game 3) on Friday.″
The Pacers, who lost to the Celtics in the first round last year, won this year’s playoff opener 104-88.
Coach Rick Carlisle said he was not surprised by Artest’s suspension.
``The truth is, we don’t have anybody to blame but ourselves,″ Carlisle said.
``There were four coaches that could have grabbed Ron, there were seven players on the bench who could have grabbed him, he could have shown ultimate restraint and not gone out there, so we put ourselves in this position. It is obviously going to make it tougher for Game 2.″
It will be the 10th game Artest has missed in the past two seasons because of suspensions. Earlier this season, he missed one game after he elbowed Portland’s Derek Anderson, and he was suspended three times for a total of eight games during the 2002-03 season.