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Thomas blames officials

Injuries, suspensions and off-court distractions are only part of the reason the Pacers have struggled recently.

Coach Isiah Thomas blames the officials.

Thomas accused them of targeting the Pacers and making more calls against Indiana than they normally would _ especially volatile forward Ron Artest.

"We've been very silent about this. We've tried to work the right way, but I think our guys are getting penalized unfairly," Thomas said Thursday.

League spokesman Tim Frank denied any bias.

"I think that's a pretty unfair accusation," Frank said. "Our officials call every game based on a set of rules everybody is familiar with. Our officials, every game out, do the best job they can. To accuse them of bias or treating them differently is unfair to the officials."

Artest was called for a flagrant foul against Philadelphia on Wednesday for tackling Eric Snow. The foul gave Artest seven flagrant-foul points, earning him a one-game suspension. It is Artest's fifth suspension of the season _ four by the league and one by the team.

MAVERICKS: Guard Avery Johnson went on the injured list with a strained right calf, and swingman Tariq Abdul-Wahad replaced Johnson on the active roster.

SUNS: Center Jake Tsakalidis was activated after missing 34 games with a back injury. To make room for the 7-foot-2 Tsakalidis, the Suns placed guard Randy Brown on the injured list with a left calf strain.

WIZARDS: Guard Tyronn Lue was activated from the injured list, and guard Anthony Goldwire was waived. Lue separated his left shoulder against the Rockets on Feb. 27, not long after he had earned a starting spot.

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