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UNRESTRAINED BARKLEY LETS LOOSE ON WITNESS STAND

Charles Barkley was restrained in the barroom scuffle that brought him into court. He held nothing back on the witness stand.

Barkley said Wednesday his accuser was lucky to come out of it with just a few lumps.

"I still don't think he got what he deserved," said the Houston Rockets forward, sued for $550,000 over the fight that occurred July 7, 1996. "I was trying to get at him, I admit that. And if I did get to him, he'd have more lumps than those superficial little rug burns he had."

Barkley's audience, a jury of eight, must decide whether to award Jeb Tyler any money in the lawsuit. The judge said they would get the case today.

Earlier Wednesday, a bouncer who got between Barkley and Tyler said he never saw Barkley throw a punch.

Paul Glatte, a bouncer at The Basement nightclub, said Barkley ordered Tyler to leave the bar and swiped at him with an open hand, but he never saw Barkley slug Tyler.

"I would call it an open-handed shiver, like you use in football on a blocker," Glatte said. "It was more like a shove-push-strike."

Glatte said he and Reggie Miller pinned Barkley against a wall as he exchanged heated words with Tyler.

Glatte said Barkley was trying to get through his block to reach Tyler, who was swinging at the player. Glatte said he saw Tyler on the ground and didn't see how his face got bloodied.

The third day of the civil trial ended with Miller saying in videotaped testimony that he saw Tyler swing at Barkley first.

"I saw Charles move back and push the guy back," Miller said. "This bouncer and I started grabbing Charles to restrain him."

Robinson ticketed

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Portland Trail Blazers forward Clifford Robinson was stopped by police Wednesday night and cited for possession of a small amount of marijuana.

Police responded to a call of someone in a car brandishing a handgun in southwest Portland about 6:30 p.m. and were given a partial license number.

Police set up a high-risk road stop and stopped the blue Humvee, which is registered to Robinson. His brother and two friends were with him.

The gun was a paintball gun, police said.

While checking the car, police said they found a small amount of marijuana in the right arm rest. Robinson was given a ticket and a court date, and released.

Blazers sign Dunleavy

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Mike Dunleavy said he signed a five-year contract to coach the Portland Trail Blazers.

The announcement came about 2 1/2 months after Dunleavy was named Portland's coach. Dunleavy said the delay was not related to disputes involving the Milwaukee Bucks, who agreed to a contract buyout with Dunleavy in April.

He filed a lawsuit Friday against the Bucks, who have said they considered filing a tampering charge against the Blazers. Dunleavy claims Milwaukee owes him severance pay and relocation money.

Referee resigns

NEW YORK -- Jesse Kersey, one of four NBA referees indicted on charges of federal tax evasion, resigned after 24 years in the job. He was regarded as one of the league's top officials.

Kersey pleaded guilty in Norfolk, Va., Wednesday to filing a false federal income tax return and was sentenced to three years' probation.

Just last week, Kersey was advised by a federal judge that it was in his interest to negotiate a plea because a jury was not likely to be convinced by his defense.

The other NBA referees indicted for tax evasion were Clinger Armstrong, George Toliver and Mike Mathis.

Around the rim

Just five weeks after giving birth to a son, Sheryl Swoopes -- a little rusty, a little heavy and still very confident -- joined her Houston Comets teammates for a practice. Swoopes, 26, was a member of the U.S. team that won the gold medal at the 1996 Olympics.

Heidi VanDerveer, the sister of Stanford coach and Buffalo Seminary graduate Tara VanDerveer, lost in her debut as coach of the WNBA's Sacramento Monarchs. The New York Liberty, behind 26 points by Sophia Witherspoon, handed the Monarchs their sixth straight loss, 73-68.

Joe Dumars, the soft-spoken team captain who represents the Detroit Pistons' last link to their NBA championships in 1989 and 1990, agreed to a one-year deal with the team worth close to the $3.1 million he earned last season.

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