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BARKLEY FINED $10,000 FOR CALLING REF 'GUTLESS', SAYS HE GOT MONEY'S WORTH

The NBA fined Houston Rockets' forward Charles Barkley $10,000 Monday for calling referee Jack Nies "gutless" after being ejected from a game against the Orlando Magic.

"I stick by what I say," Barkley told KRIV-TV of Houston. "I don't care about $10,000. The money goes to a good worthy cause. So I look at it in a positive light. I got my money's worth. I definitely got my money's worth."

Barkley was thrown out of Friday night's game for his second technical foul with 9:02 remaining and the Rockets trailing by 18 points. He received his first technical for protesting the lack of a call during the second quarter. He drew his second technical after complaining that he was held in a 100-75 loss.

After the game, Barkley said: "I'd like to say one thing about Jack Nies, I think he is a gutless official who holds grudges.

"For him to toss me for no reason . . . since we had our altercation, I've always thought he was gutless. He did nothing to dispute that tonight. Y'all print that because I want the NBA to call me."

Barkley did not attend the Rockets' workout Monday because he was being treated for an injured shoulder.

"I didn't say anything, I got tossed for dropping a ball," Barkley said. "I always take my punishment like a man. I'm not going to gripe. Whatever they do I felt would be fine."

Hawks lose Laettner, Smith

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Hawks will be without forward Christian Laettner and guard Steve Smith when they play at New Jersey tonight.

Laettner sprained his right ankle in Sunday's 118-95 victory over the Detroit Pistons. He is expected to miss as many as seven games.

Smith had fluid drained from his right knee Monday. He is expected to miss only one game.

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