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Punch lands Shaq on bench 3 games

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LOS ANGELES — For the second time in three weeks, Los Angeles Lakers star Shaquille O'Neal is resting his aching feet. This time, it isn't by choice.

O'Neal was suspended for three games without pay and fined $15,000 by the NBA on Monday for throwing a wild haymaker at Chicago's Brad Miller in the fourth quarter of the Lakers' 106-104 overtime loss to the Bulls on Saturday night.

Had the roundhouse right from the 7-foot-1, 341-pound O'Neal connected with full force, Miller would have probably been seriously injured and O'Neal would have received a much longer suspension.

The suspension will cost O'Neal more than $700,000 in lost salary. He did not speak to reporters following the Lakers' shootaround in nearby El Segundo on Monday and sat out a 120-81 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies several hours later.

O'Neal will also miss Wednesday night's game against visiting Miami and Saturday's nationally televised game at San Antonio, the first meeting of the season between those teams. He will be eligible to return next Tuesday night against Denver.

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said he spoke with O'Neal for about 30 minutes Monday.

"Clearly, he's concerned," Kupchak said. "He expressed his frustration, he's remorseful for what he did."

Kupchak said he could understand O'Neal's frustration, but made it clear he didn't approve of his actions.

"As an organization, we don't condone that type of activity," Kupchak said. "He could get injured, he could injure someone else."

The NBA also suspended Miller for one game for committing the flagrant foul that led to the fight. Bulls forward Charles Oakley was suspended for two games — one for accumulating too many flagrant foul points; the other for his flagrant foul against O'Neal.

Oakley was fined $10,000, and Miller $7,500.

Miller and Oakley fouled O'Neal hard as he received the ball in the low post with 2:44 remaining in the fourth quarter. O'Neal immediately went after Miller with his fists, leading to a wild melee.

Miller and Oakley committed several hard fouls against O'Neal earlier in the game.