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Artest left bench during confrontration

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana forward Ron Artest was suspended for one game by the NBA on Monday for leaving the bench during a
confrontation in the Pacers' playoff win over the Boston Celtics.

Artest will miss Game 2 of the first-round Eastern Conference
series Tuesday night.

With 8:01 left in the second quarter of Saturday's game, Artest
briefly left the bench when he saw teammate Jermaine O'Neal thrown
to the floor by Boston's Brandon Hunter.

Artest started onto the court when he saw O'Neal lose his
composure, but turned and headed back to the bench after about four
steps.

"It's a rule. The NBA has rules you have to abide by," Artest
said Monday, when he also was named NBA defensive player of the
year. "It's a learning experience, and I'll just have to get back
at it [in Game 3] on Friday."

The Pacers, who lost to the Celtics in the first round last
year, won this year's playoff opener 104-88.

Coach Rick Carlisle said he was not surprised by Artest's
suspension.

"The truth is, we don't have anybody to blame but ourselves,"
Carlisle said.

"There were four coaches that could have grabbed Ron, there
were seven players on the bench who could have grabbed him, he
could have shown ultimate restraint and not gone out there, so we
put ourselves in this position. It is obviously going to make it
tougher for Game 2."

It will be the second game Artest has missed due to suspension
this year, a marked improvement from a year ago. He missed one game
in March after he elbowed Portland's Derek Anderson.

Artest was suspended five times by the NBA and once by the Pacers
for a total of 12 games during the 2002-03 season.