Apr 23, 2011, 3:13 PM EDT
The only real question was would it be one game or two.
The answer is one. The league announced a one-game suspension for both Zaza Pachulia of Atlanta and Jason Richardson of Orlando for their scuffle in the fourth quarter of Game 3 Wednesday. Both will sit out Game 4 Sunday.
The whole thing started when Pachulia gave a hard but clean foul to Dwight Howard as he went in to score, and Howard gave Zaza a sneaky little elbow back to the face on the follow through (Howard did get a deserved technical for that once the refs saw the video). Pachulia — a perennial instigator — stood up to Howard and that is when Richardson rushed in to protect the Magic star. The scuffle itself was a lot of open handed nonsense.
Usually, you would call this trade a win for Atlanta — it loses a backup center who doesn’t play a big role, Orlando loses its third leading scorer and a starter. Except, Richardson has been terrible shooting this series — 26.7 percent from three — and J.J. Redick will replace him. Who has brought more energy the last few games but is just 1-of-9 from three. So this could work out for Orlando. Or not.
Game 4 pretty much is a must-win on the road for the Magic, who trail the Hawks 2-1 in the series.
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