Walker made contact with ref in scrape; O'Neal fined

INDIANAPOLIS -- Boston forward Antoine Walker was suspended
for one game by the NBA on Friday for grabbing a referee during an
angry confrontation with Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal.

O'Neal was fined $10,000 for his role in the altercation.

Walker, who had 14 points and nine rebounds, was ejected
following his second technical Thursday night after a hard foul on
O'Neal with just over four minutes to go. During the confrontation,
Walker grabbed referee Tom Washington by the arm in an attempt to
move him out of the way. O'Neal shoved Walker in the chest and
grabbed his jersey, but no punches were thrown.

Walker was questioned by NBA vice president Stu Jackson but
would not discuss what was said during the telephone conversation.

"Next question. ... Next question," Walker kept repeating.
"It's none of your business."

O'Neal, still bothered by a sprained right shoulder he injured
late in the regular season, also received a technical but remained
in the game and finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds. The Pacers
won 99-76 to go up 2-1 in the best-of-seven series. Game 4 is
Saturday night.

Walker will be reinstated for Game 5 in Boston on Tuesday.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said after the team's practice -- but
before the penalties were announced -- that he didn't think the NBA
would suspend his star forward because the contact with Washington
wasn't intentional.

"If you're arguing with the ref and you go and bump a ref,
that's one thing," Rivers said. "But in a scramble, or whatever
that was, when guys are running around, refs are told to go in and
engage, and players, you don't know who ... you're pushing around
or grabbing, so that's a big difference."

The Pacers, meanwhile, also practiced under the assumption
Walker would be in the lineup.

"We had a lot of other things we needed to clean up today and
some adjustments we needed to make, and if something happens there,
we'll have a plan ready," Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said.

Walker's first technical on Thursday came in the third quarter
after he squared off against Stephen Jackson following another hard
foul on O'Neal. He also refused to talk about that confrontation or
even the physical nature of the game in general.

"There's nothing wrong with the game plan. There's nothing
wrong with us. We've just got to pick up the intensity and want it
a little more," Walker said. "We could make a lot of excuses. ...
The bottom line is to try to win the game."

Paul Pierce led Boston with 19 points but played only 5 minutes
and did not score in the fourth quarter. He said the rough play was
just part of the game, especially in the playoffs.

"Guys are fighting for the same goal, and it's going to be a
little more heated than a regular-season game. There's going to be
a lot of emotions going on, so there's going to be hard fouls,
there's going to be skirmishes, and that's expected," Pierce said.

O'Neal said he watched a tape of the game when he got home
Thursday night.

"Some of the fouls did come after the whistle," he said.
"Some of the fouls, I thought, were excessive, but I'm not going
to take it personal. I don't think anybody out there is really
trying to kill anybody. They're trying to do things that players do
in the playoffs.

"I can't fault any of those guys, the guys taking shots at me.
Who knows? I probably would do it too if one of their main guys was
hurt. It's just the nature of the game."

Jackson, who injured his left knee in Monday's game at Boston,
said it was still sore but no worse than before.

"I feel if I stay on it and continue to work on it, it'll
continue to get stronger," he said. "I'm not complaining. I was
able to do some good things last night. I didn't score as much, but
we won."