Washington Bullets forward Harvey Grant, labeled "the instigator" in Wednesday night's scuffle in San Antonio with Spurs center David Robinson, was fined $7,500 and suspended for one game.
Grant, who is averaging 18.5 points and 6.5 rebounds, sat out last night's game against the Mavericks in Dallas. The suspension also will cost Grant a game's salary, or roughly $5,700.
Robinson was fined $5,000, but not suspended by Rod Thorn, the NBA's vice president of operations, who reviews films and officials' reports and assesses fines whenever a fight is involved.
Grant and Robinson began to tangle with 4 minutes, 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Robinson tried to establish position in the low post and Grant pushed back aggressively, eventually leading to an exchange of blows that drew ejections for both players.
"Harvey initiated the fight with a forearm to Robinson's chest," Thorn said yesterday. "Robinson countered by slapping Harvey in the head, but then Harvey started punching. He started it, did most of the damage, and that's why he got the heavier fine and suspension."
The fight broke out close to the Bullets bench, but coach Wes Unseld did not get a clear view.
"I was watching the ball," Unseld said, "and the next thing I saw was arms flailing away. But I think it was precipitated by Harvey getting hit in the mouth by a Robinson elbow the play before."
Ledell Eackles, A.J. English, Larry Stewart, Greg Foster, Pervis Ellison and Ralph Sampson of the Bullets drew $500 fines for joining in the brawl, and the Spurs' Terry Cummings, Donald Royal, Tom Copa, Antoine Carr, Greg Sutton and Morlon Wiley were fined a similar amount for leaving the bench.
Grant blamed the fight on "frustration," and said he holds no malice toward Robinson. "It was just one of those things that happens in the heat of a game."
The Bullets' third-leading scorer with an 18.5 average, Grant has missed eight of the team's 15 games. He was sidelined five games in November with tendinitis in his foot and missed three games earlier this month with a sore lower back.
NOTES: There was no change in the medical evaluation of rookie G LaBradford Smith, who had his sore left ankle examined Thursday by University of Louisville team doctor Rudy Ellis. The injury, which has restricted the No. 1 draft pick to 5 minutes of action this season, still is diagnosed as a bad sprain. Smith, who was placed on the injured list Dec. 6, remained in Louisville for treatment.