Blazers suspend Wallace

The Trail Blazers suspended all-star forward Rasheed Wallace on Monday for one game for throwing a towel into the face of teammate Arvydas Sabonis during an argument in a loss to the Lakers a day earlier.

Coach Mike Dunleavy said Wallace would be suspended for Tuesday's regular-season finale against San Antonio for "conduct detrimental to the success of the team."

It was the second time this season Wallace has been suspended by Dunleavy.

Wallace will rejoin the Blazers on Wednesday as they prepare for their first-round playoff opponent, likely to be the Lakers.

Asked whether Wallace can be a productive member of the team in the playoffs, Dunleavy said, "The answer to that really depends on Rasheed."

"As far as all parties are concerned, hopefully we come to practice on Wednesday and you basically bury the hatchet," he added.

It's the second time this month Wallace has been suspended by his team for surly on-court behaviour.

He also was suspended two games by the NBA in early February for throwing a towel that grazed the cheek of referee Gary Benson, who had ejected him.

While Wallace's tantrums over officiating have become notorious, he never had publicly feuded with a teammate before Sunday.

During the third quarter of a 105-100 loss to the Lakers, Sabonis was shoved out of the way by Shaquille O'Neal, who was going for a rebound.

Sabonis, trying to draw a foul, flailed his arms, and his left hand smacked Wallace in the face.

Wallace, who had his left eye blackened by Sabonis' elbow during another inadvertent hit at Golden State on April 6, doubled over.

He yelled at Sabonis as the teams went to their benches for a timeout.

Still furious, Wallace threw a small, white towel into Sabonis' face, then walked away.

The seven-foot-three Lithuanian centre sat red-faced, as teammates Will Perdue and Scottie Pippen stared after Wallace in disbelief.

Dunleavy said there was some miscommunication on the part of both players, but that it didn't excuse Wallace's action.

"The reaction wasn't, I don't think, fair, as far as being warranted. But there is another side to the story," Dunleavy said.

Neither Wallace nor Sabonis would comment following the game.

The team said the players would not be made available for interviews on Monday.

Wallace has been ejected seven times this season and has racked up 41 technical fouls, breaking the league record of 38 he set last season.

But he seemed to calm down after getting thrown out of a home loss to Minnesota on April 1.

Dunleavy, making good on a warning to Wallace the last time he had been ejected, suspended Wallace for a game at Denver on April 3.

He got just one technical foul in his next five games.