Report: Francis refused to play

The Orlando Magic suspended Steve Francis because he refused to play late in the fourth quarter of Wednesday's 103-87 loss to Seattle, two newspapers reported Friday. Francis is averaging 16.6 points and a team-high 5.4 assists.

The Associated Press
Published: Saturday, January 14, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 14, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
ORLANDO - The Orlando Magic indefinitely suspended Steve Francis because he refused to play late in the fourth quarter of a blowout, two newspapers reported Friday.
The Orlando Sentinel and Florida Today, both citing anonymous sources, said the star guard wouldn't re-enter Wednesday night's game against Seattle to replace Hedo Turkoglu. Turkoglu had fouled out with 3 minutes, 22 seconds left and the Magic trailing 103-87.
Magic spokesman Joel Glass told The Associated Press on Friday the team had no comment on the reports. Orlando has said only that Francis was suspended for "conduct detrimental to the team."
Coach Brian Hill also would not confirm the reports.
"I'm just going to leave it as it is," he said from the team's shootaround in Portland, Ore., before a game against the Trail Blazers. "It's an internal matter that we're going to handle from within, without commenting on it."
Hill said he planned to call Francis before the team returns to Orlando on Monday.
"We just want to try to get the situation resolved," he said.
Video footage showed Hill pointing to Francis to check into the game. However, the point guard shook his head, said something to Hill and did not get up from the bench. Hill approached Francis and the two continued to talk. Stacey Augmon replaced Turkoglu.
"He wouldn't go back into the game," the source told Florida Today.
  • WIZARDS 94, PACERS 85: Gilbert Arenas scored 18 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter to lead visiting Washington over Indiana.
    Caron Butler added 24 points and eight rebounds for Washington, which has won two straight games.
    Jermaine O'Neal led the Pacers with 20 points and seven rebounds. Jeff Foster added 10 points and 11 rebounds.
    The score was tied at 80 before baskets by Arenas and Antonio Daniels and two free throws by Arenas gave the Wizards an 86-80 lead.
    Arenas hit a jumper with 1:20 left and the shot clock winding down to make the score 88-80 and put the game out of reach.
    Arenas was held to 17 points on 5-for-18 shooting the last time the teams met, Indiana's 111-87 victory on a snowy December day in Indianapolis. This time, he shot 12-for-18 from the field, 12-for-14 from the free throw line and had eight assists.
  • BUCKS 103, BOBCATS 102: T.J. Ford's driving layup with 15 seconds left gave visiting Milwaukee a win over undermanned Charlotte.
    The Bucks blew an 18-point, second-quarter lead against the Bobcats, who were missing six players to injury, including three starters. But Milwaukee closed the game on 9-2 run to improve to 13-0 in games decided by six points or less.
  • KNICKS 105, HAWKS 94: Larry Brown became the fourth coach in league history to win 1,000 games as host New York beat Atlanta for its sixth straight victory.
    Brown, who is 1,000-762 in 23 seasons as an NBA coach, joined Lenny Wilkens, Don Nelson and Pat Riley as the only coaches to reach 1,000 victories. All four coached the Knicks at some point in their careers.
  • GRIZZLIES 81, NETS 69: Mike Miller had 18 points and 16 rebounds, and host Memphis used good guard play to beat New Jersey.
    Bobby Jackson scored 17 points for Memphis. Eddie Jones added 12 and Shane Battier finished with 11 as the Grizzlies won for the ninth time in 11 games overall and their sixth straight at home.
  • T-WOLVES 103, NUGGETS 89: Kevin Garnett had a season-high 31 points on 14-for-17 shooting and 15 rebounds to help host Minnesota even its record with a win over Denver.
    Wally Szczerbiak, who made eight of his final 10 field goals, added 28 points and spurred the Timberwolves on a decisive 20-4 run that closed the third quarter.
  • HORNETS 90, KINGS 76: David West scored 19 points and Rasual Butler added a season-high 16 to help host New Orleans beat Sacramento.
  • LAKERS: Ronny Turiaf is set to join the team less than six months after undergoing open-heart surgery.
    Turiaf's agent, Bouna Ndiaye, said by telephone from Paris that he expected the Lakers to sign the 23-year-old power forward early next week.
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