Teams need a fighting spirit to reach and succeed in the NBA playoffs.
But a couple of Seattle SuperSonics, Xavier McDaniel and Dale Ellis, may have taken that principle too far when they exchanged blows yesterday outside the team's Queen Anne headquarters.
The Sonics would not identify the players involved in the fracas, but sources told The Times forward McDaniel and guard Ellis were the antagonists, and that some blood had been shed and clothes torn.
The team announced that Ellis, who is on the injured list, has been suspended for five days without pay for ``disciplinary reasons.'' No further elaboration was given.
In an earlier statement, the Sonics said: ``There was an incident yesterday, but the matter is over. It's being handled privately. Other than that, we have no comment.''
McDaniel refused to comment. Ellis could not be reached.
A Seattle Police Department dispatcher said a citizen called police to report a fist-fight at 2:06 p.m. That witness told officers one man was beaten up as five other men tried to break up the fight.
No one was arrested and no charges were filed, although the police log indicates one of the officers went inside the building, apparently to talk with Sonic officials.
There were no reports of injuries, but a source who worked in the office building on Queen Anne Avenue said Ellis was bloodied in the exchange.
Reached at home last night, McDaniel declined comment on the incident. Seattle Coach K.C. Jones, Sonic President Bob Whitsitt and Ellis were unavailable.
Ellis, who made the NBA all-star team two seasons ago, has not played a game this season due to a sore right foot, but he has been practicing recently.
The suspension means Ellis can no longer attend workouts. He isn't eligible to come off the injured list until Dec. 1, when Seattle is scheduled to meet Portland in the Coliseum.