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Portland Suspends Strickland

February 23, 1996|From Associated Press

The Portland Trail Blazers suspended playmaker Rod Strickland, then won without him Thursday night, ending a six-game homecourt losing streak in the process.

Rumeal Robinson, Strickland's replacement, had 18 points and 13 assists and Aaron McKie scored 21 points as the Trail Blazers beat Denver, 107-78, their most lopsided victory of the season.

Strickland was suspended for the game for "repeated rule violations" after storming out of the morning shootaround and saying he was finished with the team, whether it traded him or not.

"I'm not going to be a part of this," Strickland said. "If I have to pack up and take a fine, I will. This is it for me."

His anger stems from a long personality conflict with Coach P.J. Carlesimo, but the trade deadline passed without Portland making a deal.

He wasn't missed on Thursday. Portland shot ahead, 22-7, and never led by fewer than seven points the rest of the way.

Portland, on track to become the worst free throw shooting team in NBA history at 63.6% entering the game, made its first 21 from the line and wound up 26 for 28.

Chicago 96, Atlanta 91--Michael Jordan scored 34 points and led the Bulls, who rallied from a 17-point first-half deficit to win in Atlanta.

It was Chicago's seventh victory in a row, and it came on the shoulders of Jordan's sixth 30-point performance in the past seven games.

Houston 86, Cleveland 80--The Rockets' Robert Horry scored all 27 of his points on a team-record nine three-point baskets and missed tying an NBA record when his 10th was ruled as having been shot a split second after the final buzzer at Cleveland.

Utah 102, Toronto 86--Karl Malone had 26 points and 14 rebounds and Jeff Hornacek added 22 points at Salt Lake City for the Jazz, which won its fourth in a row.

Seattle 106, Golden State 90--The SuperSonics, getting 19 points from Gary Payton and 18 from Shawn Kemp at home, won their season-high eighth in a row.

NBA Notes

The Washington Bullets will become the Washington Wizards starting next season. . . . Point guard Muggsy Bogues, who has played in four games this season for the Charlotte Hornets, was put back on the injured list because of a sore left knee. . . . Charles Smith of the San Antonio Spurs was suspended for one game and fined $5,000 for punching Chris Gatling during the fourth quarter of the Warriors-Spurs game Wednesday night.

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