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Shaquille O'Neal fined $35,000 for comments about officiating

The Celtics center refers to referees as 'control freaks' following Christmas Day loss to Magic.

December 27, 2010|Staff and wire reports

Shaquille O'Neal has been fined $35,000 by the NBA for his public comments about the officiating.

O'Neal criticized the referees following the Boston Celtics' 86-78 loss at Orlando on Christmas. He was angry after picking up his sixth foul when Magic center Dwight Howard fell to the court as they were wrestling for position.

O'Neal said: "I just wonder why I've never gotten that call in 20 years. Don't pick and choose when you're going to make the call. … That's what happens when you've got control freaks."

The Miami Heat's LeBron James is clarifying remarks he made about contraction and the NBA.

Speaking after practice Monday, James said he "didn't mean to upset anybody" when he called the NBA "watered down" last week and said the league was more popular in the 1980s because there were fewer teams and thus more stars on the top squads.

James referred to Minnesota's Kevin Love and New Jersey's Brook Lopez and Devin Harris when making his comments last week in Phoenix.

On Monday, he insisted he was not suggesting that the Timberwolves and Nets should be shut down.

USC junior guard Jio Fontan was chosen the Pacific 10 Conference player of the week, only nine days after becoming eligible for the Trojans before a close loss at No. 3 Kansas.

Fontan, a transfer from Fordham who sat out until the Kansas game in accordance with NCAA rules, is averaging 16.3 points in three games for USC.

Baxter Holmes

USC forward Evan Smith had left shoulder surgery and will miss the rest of the season after being out because of injury since early in the preseason.

Smith, who is the Trojans' only sophomore on scholarship, had his left shoulder glenoid labrum repaired on Thursday. He's expected to be ready for next season.


Wittels charged with rape

The Florida International baseball player with a 56-game hitting streak was charged with rape in the Bahamas, court officials in the islands' capital said.

Garrett Wittels was accused of raping a 17-year-old tourist on Dec. 20 while on a visit to the archipelago east of Florida. The 20-year-old infielder ended last season with the second-longest hitting streak in NCAA Division I history, two behind the 58-game run by Oklahoma State's Robin Ventura in 1987.

Two of Wittels' friends also face rape charges, officials said.

Chief Magistrate Roger Gomez granted Wittels and the two others $10,000 bail at their Thursday arraignment in Nassau. The U.S. suspects were not required to enter pleas and returned to the United States.

Jeranimo defeated Proudinsky by 21/2 lengths to win the $150,000 San Gabriel Stakes at Santa Anita.

Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Jeranimo ran 11/8 miles on the turf in 1:47.20.

In the $100,000 California Breeders' Champion Stakes, California Nectar won the fillies division by 11/2 lengths over Warren's Flyer, giving jockey Patrick Valenzuela his first stakes victory at Santa Anita in four years.

The 48-year-old rider's license had been suspended in California for much of that time following a substance abuse violation.

Eric Laakso

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