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After Getting a Hard Shove, Shaq Gets a Cold Shoulder


The Lakers apparently will have no official follow-up, but Shaquille O'Neal said he called Rod Thorn, the NBA's senior vice president for basketball operations, on Thursday to lodge a personal complaint on the flagrant foul by Chris Dudley of the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 3.

"That was a cheap-shot foul," O'Neal said Friday. "I already called Rod and told him. I told him that's two times in three games. The next time it happens, it won't be pretty."

O'Neal, sent out of bounds by a Dudley shove in the back as he prepared to finish a break, got the chance to vent. Beyond that, he said, there wasn't much satisfaction.

"He didn't care," the Laker center said of Thorn. "I can tell."


Corie Blount, out the last two games after suffering a sprained right shoulder in practice Tuesday, is scheduled to be reexamined today in Los Angeles, what could be an important update for the Lakers.

Blount, the starting power forward three weeks earlier, had dropped out of the rotation before the injury, becoming the last big man off the bench. But his availability becomes a potential issue because the Lakers next must contend with Karl Malone, a matchup that could require everything this side of sending for the cavalry considering Malone averaged 29.5 points in the four regular-season meetings.

Agent Mark Bartelstein said his client's shoulder is not feeling much better after three days' rest. The Lakers are waiting for today to issue their update.


If only it were as simple as when he was a kid, growing up in Inglewood. Back then, Mitchell Butler could sneak into the Forum to watch the Lakers play, something he was known to do.

Now, he couldn't sneak in to play against the Lakers. With his first season as a Trail Blazer winding down, and perhaps his last season as a Trail Blazer, the reserve guard played only four minutes the first three games and didn't play Friday. Kind of like the rest of his season, which included 49 appearances and an average of 9.5 minutes per.

"It didn't go as I expected or planned," the former UCLA player said of his time in Portland, a move that came as part of the Rasheed Wallace-Rod Strickland deal with the Washington Bullets. "But I like the city and I like the organization. I just wish I could have gotten some more playing time."

On the other hand, Butler might not have to worry about it much longer. The Trail Blazers hold an option for next season, amid speculation it won't be picked up and he will become a free agent.

"It's a matter of what they want to do, and they're not tipping their hand," Butler said. "But I'm planning as if I'm going to be playing elsewhere."

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