Coleman fined, suspended for fight He must pay $12,500 and sit out two games. Teammate Corie Blount also was punished.

Posted: February 19, 2002

As expected, the NBA yesterday suspended Derrick Coleman without pay for two games for fighting with Indiana Pacers guard Reggie Miller during the third quarter of the 76ers' 86-76 loss Sunday afternoon. Coleman missed last night's game against the Denver Nuggets and will have to sit out tomorrow's home game against the Golden State Warriors.

Coleman also was fined $12,500 for "grabbing the throat, throwing a punch and fighting with . . . Miller," the NBA announced yesterday. It was Coleman's second suspension this season for fighting. He missed a game in late December after an altercation with the Utah Jazz' Karl Malone.

Corie Blount also was suspended without pay for last night's game and fined $5,000 for "leaving the vicinity of the bench at the time of the altercation," the NBA said.

The suspensions, and injuries, meant the Sixers were shorthanded on the front line. Matt Harpring started for Coleman, with Raja Bell at small forward.

"Those things happen," Sixers coach Larry Brown said of the suspensions. "The way I look at it, now different guys have to step up."

Brown said his only dispute with the ruling was that, in his estimation, Blount was checking into the game - not trying to join the fray - while the Coleman-Miller imbroglio took place at midcourt.

"The horn did blow, and the whistle did blow," Brown said in defense of Blount. "[The NBA's] response was the referee didn't tell him to come in. I've been in this league 30-some years, and I haven't had many referees tell a substitution when he could come in. They've told him when they couldn't come in. But that's OK. It happened. That's the rule. I expected that."

For his part in the altercation, Miller was suspended for one game without pay and fined $7,500 for "throwing a punch and fighting," the NBA said.

By NBA rules, neither Blount nor Coleman was allowed to attend the Sixers game last night.

McKie out. After playing 22 scoreless minutes against the Pacers, Aaron McKie sat out last night's game, a protective boot covering his sprained left ankle. Brown said McKie did not further injure the ankle by playing against Indiana.

"I don't think it set him back, but it made him realize he's not ready," Brown said.

Bell back. The new tattoo on his right upper arm was still puffy, although his eyes were dry. After a few difficult days with his family in Miami, Raja Bell returned to Philadelphia yesterday and rejoined his other family, the Sixers.

His sister Tombi's fiance, Chris Campbell, who died in a one-car accident on Saturday, was on his mind and his arm. The tattoo said: "Rest in Peace, 2-16-02, Chris Campbell, 48, Ya'll don't see the dawg."

"He was out there with me," Bell said after scoring 16 points in 33 minutes. "Once I got out there [on the court], it really felt good. It was the best I felt in a long time."

Bell will return to Miami, possibly tomorrow, to attend Thursday morning's funeral. Campbell was a senior linebacker at Miami who was preparing for the NFL combine. It was a dream made possible, in part, because the Sixers' doctors alerted him to a staph infection in his injured leg in December while Campbell was visiting Bell during the Sixers' Christmas trip to Los Angeles.

Bell asked to change his number to the one Campbell wore at Miami: No. 48. Although he cannot switch the number this season, "Next year I'll have a new number," Bell said.

Roster moves. Before the tip-off, the Sixers put Derrick McKey on the injured list with a strained left-calf muscle and activated second-year forward Jabari Smith, who had played in only five games since signing with the Sixers on Dec. 30.

McKey, whom Brown calls his "security blanket," signed with the Sixers on Jan. 14 and has played in 15 games, averaging 1.7 points and 2.5 rebounds in 15.3 minutes per game.

Ashley McGeachy's e-mail address is

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