Sixers rookie Jerry Stackhouse was suspended for two games without pay and fined $7,500 by the NBA Thursday for his assault on the Utah Jazz's Jeff Hornacek.
In the third quarter of Wednesday's game at the Delta Center, Stackhouse first committed a flagrant foul on Hornacek, then grabbed the Jazz guard by the neck and threw three punches. According to Hornacek, Stackhouse earlier in the same quarter threw a "cheap elbow" at him.Stackhouse and Hornacek were ejected from the game. The NBA took no action against Hornacek.
"The penalty was more severe than most," said Rod Thorn, the NBA's senior vice president of basketball operations. "We've never had a problem with Jerry before. It was very surprising to see him do that."Stackhouse will miss games against the Clippers and SuperSonics. Counting loss of pay, the incident will cost him $64,200. Hornacek will be back on the court tonight at the Delta Center when the Jazz face Cleveland.
The Philadelphia rookie, who said after the incident he was sorry it happened, was not surprised by the league's actions.
"I felt there was going to be a suspension," he told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I'm just glad that it's out of the way and over with. But I don't think it was all me."
Stackhouse said replays of the incident did not show all that happened.
"They never showed that I fouled him hard and he came across my head with his elbow," he said. "He came at me with an elbow, and then he looked like he was going to charge me. My first notion was to defend myself. He may not have been going to attack me, but that's all I saw."
Hornacek said all that was hogwash, and he even plans to appeal the automatic $1,000 fine for being ejected.
"I shouldn't have been kicked out for that," he said.
Jazz coach Jerry Sloan agreed.
"I didn't see Jeff Hornacek punching," he said. "I saw him trying to hold himself out of the way. He did everything he could to keep from getting kicked out of the game."
Thorn said that when he reviewed the altercation on tape, it appeared that Hornacek "didn't do anything" - which would seem to indicate Hornacek has solid grounds for an appeal.
Hornacek was irritated by postgame comments from Sixers coach John Lucas.
"I heard John Lucas saying I'm known to grab and hold," he said. "Watch that whole tape. I didn't grab or hold once."
Lucas' exact comment: "Hornacek is a pulling, holding veteran who gets away with stuff."
Hornacek did say he understands what Stackhouse is feeling.
"I played in Philadelphia a year and a half," he said. "I know how the frustration mounts."
The rookie is the leading scorer on a bad team, and he missed all five of his field-goal attempts in the first half, while having the ball taken away several times. This reportedly was his first ejection from a game at any level.
"I've had a lot of firsts this season," he said. "This is not one I'm proud of, not proud of at all.
"If I could have done it differently, I would have. I'm embarrassed. I pride myself with being in control both on and off the court."