by Conrad Brunner
SACRAMENTO, March 3, 2002 - Reggie Miller disagreed with the NBA's decision to issue a two-game suspension for his part in a post-game fight with the Lakers' Kobe Bryant after the Pacers' 96-84 loss in Los Angeles on Friday night.
Miller, who stayed in the team hotel during a 97-86 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday, issued the following statement through the club:
"I am extremely disappointed in the league's decision rendered today. I was confident the league, after reviewing the tape and interviewing those involved, would see it was clear that I was neither the instigator nor the aggressor in this incident. Kobe has other issues he has to deal with, this had nothing to do with me or the basketball game played on Friday evening."
In addition to the two-game suspension, Miller was fined $10,000. Bryant was also suspended for two games and fined $12,500; his fine was slightly higher because he threw a punch. Combining the fine with the two games of lost salary, the punishment will cost Miller more than $300,000.
After the final horn sounded, the two players exchanged words, then Miller raised his fists as Bryant threw a punch that missed. They then wrestled into the scorer's table as several players and coaches from both teams rushed in to separate them.
It was the second suspension in two weeks for Miller, who was forced to sit out the Feb. 22 loss to Cleveland for his tussle with Philadelphia's Derrick Coleman in a Feb. 17 game. All told, the fines and suspensions have cost Miller more than $450,000 this season.