<
>

Hollins suspended two games

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Timberwolves forward Ryan Hollins was suspended on Wednesday for two games after separate run-ins with the Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki and DeShawn Stevenson in their game Monday night.

Hollins punched Stevenson while boxing him out on a free throw in the second quarter. He then struck Nowitzki in the head with his left forearm late in the fourth quarter, drawing a Flagrant-2 foul and an ejection.

Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis said before the game on Wednesday night against Denver that he didn't believe either act had malicious intent.

"It's just not the kind of player or person that Ryan is," Rambis said. "He wants to play hard. He is trying to do the physical things that we're asking him to do. Any time there is physical play out there, there's going to be a certain amount of aggression level that increases."

After the game, Nowitzki called Hollins "a little out of control, but that's part of the game."

Rambis reviewed tape of the incidents and said he felt the suspension came as the result of Hollins' shot to Stevenson, not the "striking" of Nowitzki, as the league referred to it in a news release.

Rambis said he agreed that Hollins may have been a little out of control with Stevenson, but "the one where the Flagrant-2 foul was called with Dirk, I thought Ryan was making a play on the ball and Dirk flopped on it."

Hollins has been starting for the Timberwolves in recent weeks and is averaging 6.8 points and 3.0 rebounds.

Darko Milicic took Hollins' spot in the starting lineup on Wednesday night against Denver. Hollins was not available for comment.

"He was disappointed and he was sad," Rambis said. "He stressed to us that he wasn't trying to do anything. It was not his intent. That wasn't what was going on. There was no ill feelings toward the Mavericks, the organization or those players."