Channing Frye suspended one game

Phoenix Suns center Channing Frye has been suspended without pay for Friday’s game against the Lakers for throwing a punch at Pacers forward Danny Granger during an altercation in Saturday’s game, NBA executive vice president Stu Jackson announced today. Granger was also suspended for fighting with Frye. Here is an excerpt from a statement by the NBA:

The Indiana Pacers’ Danny Granger and the Phoenix Suns’ Channing Frye have each been suspended one game without pay for their participation in an altercation on March 6. Frye was suspended for throwing a punch at Granger, and Granger was suspended for fighting with Frye.

In addition to the suspensions, Indiana’s Roy Hibbert and Earl Watson, along with Phoenix’s Jason Richardson received fines. Watson was fined $30,000 for “instigating and adding to the escalation of an on-court incident,” while Hibbert and Richardson will each be fined $25,000 for “adding to the escalation of an on-court incident.”

The league decided that Frye’s left-handed “mushing” as he called it was in fact a punch, although Frye didn’t see it that way. He told ValleyofheSuns after the Pacers game:

I feel like if you look at my past history — which they probably won’t — I’m not really that type of guy to be in fights or in brawls, to be that instigator. It wasn’t the right play, and whatever they [decide] is going to be just, but hopefully they ask my opinion, and it wasn’t a punch.

The NBA obviously didn’t see things Frye’s way, and the big man will now miss the all-important Friday game against the Lakers. This is obviously a big loss for the Suns, and it really couldn’t come at a worse time with LA coming into town. Frye’s shooting touch from the outside will be sorely missed, but his biggest loss will be on the defensive end and in the rebounding department.

Although those clearly aren’t his strong suit, you need big bodies to try to contain the Lakers’ massive front line of Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom. The Suns are now thin up front, with the only real big men being Robin Lopez and Amare Stoudemire. Lopez needs to have a big game and stay out of foul trouble if the Suns hope to hold the Lakers’ bigs in check and win that rebounding battle that’s so important to the Suns’ success.

Amare doesn’t match up well with Bynum or Gasol, and Lou Amundson is too undersized to hold the seven-footers in check. Expect a Jarron Collins sighting at some point, along with a touch of Earl Clark here and there. The Suns now need a big game from Lopez and an inspired defensive effort from Amare and some bench guys in order to get an important home win against the conference leaders.

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