<
>

NBA bites back: Suspends Horry, fines Stackhouse

NEW YORK -- The NBA suspended San Antonio Spurs forward Robert Horry two games without pay for his role in a physical confrontation with Dallas Mavericks forward Jerry Stackhouse, in which the Mavericks say Horry bit Stackhouse on the arm.

The league said it suspended Horry "for intentionally making physical contact with a game official" and for his actions in the altercation. But the league did not specify in its release whether Horry bit Stackhouse, or if a bite or attempted bite was the cause of the suspension.

Horry denied biting Stackhouse.

Replays of the incident showed Horry attempting to bite
Stackhouse's arm, but Horry's teeth never made contact with
Stackhouse's skin.

"I went for a rebound, felt a stiff-arm, and it was Horry,"
Stackhouse said before the Mavericks faced Charlotte in Dallas on
Friday night. "It was a basketball play, a heat-of-the-moment
thing. I didn't see him try to bite me."

The incident came with just over a minute left in the Spurs' 98-89 win in San Antonio, a hard-nosed defensive struggle between the top teams in the NBA's Western Conference. Horry and Stackhouse tangled under the Mavericks' basket after both went for a rebound.

Horry will serve his suspension Saturday when the Spurs host the Portland Trail Blazers and on Monday against the Lakers in Los Angeles.

For his part, Stackhouse earned a $30,000 fine for an obscenity-laden post-game tirade against veteran referee Dick Bavetta, who worked the game.

"Somebody saw Bavetta get off the bus [Wednesday] night and I thought, 'Oh, [expletive].' I knew what was coming," Stackhouse told The (Fort Worth) Star-Telegram.

"It's tough to come on the road in this environment and have to play agains the refs, too," Stackhouse told the paper. "[Expletive] Dick Bavetta. I'm tired of his [expletive]. It's like the game is about him. He just needs to call the game and call the fouls."

Friday, Stackhouse said he thought he would receive a lesser fine from the
league.

"I was expecting $7,500,'' he said. "Did I expect $30,000? Not
at all."

Stackhouse did not back off from his criticism of the
officiating in the matchup between the top two teams in the Western
Conference.

"I'm not going to change how I feel," he said.

Bavetta, a 31-season league veteran, declined to comment.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.