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NBA suspended players

The NBA game between Houston Rockets and Phoenix Suns was full with excitement …

Rockets guard Rafer Alston received a two-game suspension on Friday for his role in the scuffle in the third quarter of Wednesday’s game in Phoenix, forcing him to miss tonight’s game against the Spurs and Saturday’s against the New Orleans Hornets.

Alston went after Suns forward Matt Barnes after Barnes hit him while Alston set a screen for Tracy McGrady. Both were ejected from the game.

Barnes also received a two-game suspension. Suns point guard Steve Nash was suspended for one game for his role in the shoving that followed the confrontation.

Suns center Shaquille O’Neal was fined $35,000 and McGrady received a $25,000 fine. O’Neal, Nash and McGrady received technical fouls.

“Rafer and Matt Barnes, I didn’t think (the infractions) were equal because I thought one guy initiated and one retaliated,” McGrady said. “The guy that really initiated should have had more games. I don’t think Rafer deserved the same amount of games.

“About the 25, I don’t care about that.”

McGrady said he disputes Barnes’ notion that McGrady had set a hard screen on Nash.

“A hard pick?” McGrady said. “That wasn’t a hard screen. His (teammate) should have called out a screen. Any screen is hard if your man doesn’t call it out and you don’t see it. It’s wasn’t a hard screen. He just didn’t see it. I think he already had a pinched nerve in his neck. I don’t set hard screens. I don’t think I set a hard screen in my career.”

Asked about Barnes retaliating by running through an Alston screen, rather than on McGrady directly, McGrady said, “He chose wisely.”

Players may appeal the league’s ruling, but that only affects fines.

“I don’t have any (reaction),” Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said. “To me, the league has a role to play to keep the integrity of the game high. I thought Phoenix’s role was bigger than ours and the league was more severe on Phoenix, which I thought was appropriate.”

With Alston out, Aaron Brooks will start tonight, but the Rockets could be limited off the bench more than by not having Brooks in his sixth man role. The availability of Brent Barry is a game-time decision because of his sprained right thumb.

Tonight Rockets play in San Antonio , Suns are facing Sacramento .

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