PORTLAND The Portland Trail Blazers faced the Jazz on Thursday night without reserve big man Zach Randolph, who earlier Thursday was suspended by the team for two games without pay and fined an additional $100,000 for punching teammate Ruben Patterson during practice Wednesday.
Randolph reportedly punched an unsuspecting Patterson in the face, drawing "large amounts of blood," according to an Associated Press account of the incident.
"While these types of disagreements happen in practice during the course of a season due to the physical and competitive nature of basketball," Blazers president and general manager Bob Whitsitt said in a statement released by the team, "this instance and this type of behavior will not be tolerated by our organization without the individuals being held accountable for their actions."
Randolph reportedly punched Patterson in defense of teammate and close friend Qyntel Woods, who had been skirmishing with Patterson just before Randolph stepped in. At the time he was hit, Patterson was being held by two other teammates trying to prevent him from going after Woods.
The negative incident is hardly the first this season for the Blazers, who have been dubbed "Team Turmoil" by The Oregonian newspaper.
Last Saturday, Woods was cited for possession of marijuana.
Patterson was fined $100,000 after being arrested last November on a suspicion of domestic assault charge that later was dropped.
Bonzi Wells was suspended one game in March following a verbal altercation with coach Maurice Cheeks, suspended two games in December for fighting with Golden State's Chris Mills and suspended one game in November for spitting on San Antonio's Danny Ferry.
Rasheed Wallace was suspended seven games for threatening a referee following a game in January and fined $15,000 for going into the stands during a postgame fight at Golden State.Also, Wallace and Damon Stoudamire recently were put on probation and fined after being cited in November for marijuana possession.
BIG HELP: The Jazz got 12 key points off the bench from backup center Tony Massenburg, all in the first half. Massenburg's final five baskets, in fact, were part of Utah's last 14 points of the half."He had a real nice run," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said of Massenburg, who shot 6-of-9 from the field. "He was terrific."
MISC.: Reserve big man John Amaechi was back on the Jazz's bench after sitting out Tuesday's win over the Los Angeles Clippers due to a strained neck sustained in Saturday's loss at San Antonio. Amaechi, however, did not play . . . The Blazers on Thursday activated center Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje and replaced him on the injured list with guard Charles Smith (sore left hip) . . . Other Blazer absentees included Scottie Pippen, still rehabbing from arthroscopic knee surgery performed March 18.
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