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HAWKS END RIDER'S SUSPENSION AFTER ONE GAME

Isaiah Rider's suspension is over after one game and he is expected to return to the Atlanta Hawks for their game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.

Whether Rider -- averaging 23.0 points per game, 10th in the NBA -- starts at Milwaukee "is strictly a coaching decision," team spokesman Arthur Triche said Friday. "Nothing has been determined."

Rider was suspended indefinitely Thursday after he missed a team flight and a shootaround prior to a 106-105 overtime loss to the Detroit Pistons.

He showed up about an hour before the game and was involved in a players-only meeting in the Hawks' locker room. The Hawks said Rider hadn't contacted the team all day.

He then spoke to the media, refusing to explain his absence from the shootaround, and left the arena. The Hawks banned him from the team's charter flight back to Atlanta and told him he would have to fly commercially.

"There would not have been any suspension had he shown up for the shootaround," General Manager Pete Babcock said. "We announced suspension before knowing he would show up for the game."

Babcock said he promised the other players that if Rider apologized to the team, the suspension would last only one game.

Rider was suspended for one game after he missed practice the day before a Nov. 18 game against Charlotte, saying his car had been vandalized. Babcock noted at the time that Rider did not need a car to get to Philips Arena, which is located a short walk from his hotel, and suspended him for one game.

Heat may pursue guard

MIAMI -- Even though Pat Riley is pleased with Anthony Carter's development, the Heat coach and president said he might be inclined to acquire a veteran point guard if Tim Hardaway does not recover fully from his jammed right knee soon.

The Heat has neither seriously pursued a trade for a veteran point guard, nor tried to sign Matt Maloney, the top remaining free agent.

But Riley revealed that if Hardaway's condition does not improve, the Heat will look for help before the Feb. 24 trading deadline.

"We have to look at that," Riley said. "We've all been optimistic Tim will get back healthy, but we have to cover our bases."

Riley acknowledged if Hardaway's knee remains an issue, he would feel more comfortable having another veteran point guard available in the playoffs.

A Christie Christmas

TORONTO -- When Toronto reporters noticed Raptors guard Doug Christie scanning a coffee-table book on antique cars in the locker room, they thought it was a gift from Christie's wife, Jackie.

The gift was a restored '57 Chevy. The perfect addition to his '66 Mustang convertible and a '66 Thunderbird that Christie helped his father restore.

Tough time for Candy Man

LOS ANGELES -- All's not well in Los Angeles. At least when it comes to the Clippers.

Houston's Kelvin Cato dominated LA's Michael Olowokandi with 21 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots Thursday night in the Rockets' 122-100 win. On the other end, Olowokandi scored four points and had four rebounds. He blocked six shots but soiled that with four turnovers.

"Some guys like Michael have to step up because Michael's not giving us anything right now," Clippers forward Maurice Taylor said. "I'm not saying he's the main reason why we're losing, but in order for us to be competitive, he has to start playing a whole lot better than he's playing right now."

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