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Tuesday, January 21
NBA: Shaq's foul was not worth a flagrant call news services

The NBA on Monday reclassified a controversial flagrant foul call made against Shaquille O'Neal during the Lakers' 108-104 overtime loss to the Rockets on Friday night.

On the play in question, Steve Francis drove to the basket, where O'Neal made contact with the point guard. A flagrant foul was called by referee Monty McCutchen. Lakers coach Phil Jackson was subsequently hit with a technical foul for arguing the call. The technical foul was also reclassified by the NBA.

The sequence helped the Rockets increase their lead from one point to four points.

"The unfortunate thing is it had to be decided by them,'' O'Neal said after the game, referring to the the officials. "A whole bunch of people who paid a lot of money had to see a game that was decided by someone who doesn't make a lot of money. That's unfortunate.''

When told of the NBA decision to overturn the calls, O'Neal clapped lightly on Monday, but did not comment otherwise, according to the Los Angeles Times. However, O'Neal was saved a point in the NBA's system of overseeing flagrant fouls. When a player accumulates six points, he is suspended for one game.

The game featured the first matchup between O'Neal and Houston rookie center Yao Ming, and lived up to its billing, even though Shaq dominated Yao at times. O'Neal finished with 31 points, 13 rebounds and four assists while Yao had 10 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks.

The star of the game, however, was Francis, who led the Rockets with a career-high 44 points.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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