NBA Notes: Turkoglu suspended for steroid use

NBA Notes: Turkoglu suspended for steroid use
February 13, 2013, 11:00 pm
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Let's take a look at some news and notes from around the NBA.

Turkoglu suspended 20 games
ORLANDO, Florida -- Orlando Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu of Turkey was suspended 20 games by the NBA on Wednesday after testing positive for steroids.

The NBA said Turkoglu tested positive for methenolone, an anabolic steroid. He began serving the suspension Wednesday night when the Magic hosted the Atlanta Hawks.

Turkoglu took full responsibility for the positive test and apologized to the Magic organization, fans and fellow teammates. He said he took medication from a trainer in Turkey this past summer to help him recover from a shoulder injury and mistakenly neglected to check it against the NBA's list of banned substances.

"As a player this is the worst situation that you want to be in," Turkoglu said. "I'm just sorry to put the organization in this situation. ... I should have double-checked and researched and shouldn't be in this situation."

He is the eighth player suspended for performance-enhancing drugs under the NBA's drug testing policy. He is the second Magic player to be suspended under the policy in four years. Former Magic forward Rashard Lewis was suspended 10 games in 2009 after testing positive for an elevated testosterone level.

Turkoglu said he was tested by the league in December and learned of the suspension Tuesday night. General manager Rob Hennigan said Turkoglu informed the team of the positive test a week ago.

Turkoglu sat out the Magic's past three games for what the team said were flu-like symptoms and a sore back. Hennigan said those ailments were legitimate and unrelated to the positive test (see full story).

LeBron inspiring Durant
OKLAHOMA CITY -- LeBron James is playing at a record-setting level, and that only makes Kevin Durant want to get better at his own game.

Heading into the All-Star break, James is making the race for league MVP a one-man contest. He has grabbed all the headlines by logging an NBA record six straight games with at least 30 points while shooting 60 percent or better.

By comparison, the three-time NBA scoring champion Durant has hit both of those marks just five times all season. The two top vote-getters in last season's MVP balloting will play Thursday night when Durant's Oklahoma City Thunder host James' Miami Heat.

"I always feel that I have to raise the bar for myself every single day. I think I'm competing against the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the season, throughout the season and seeing if I can be better than that," Durant said.

"Of course, LeBron James is a really good friend of mine, a big inspiration, a guy I looked up to in high school, middle school, just hearing about him when he was in high school and being the No.1 pick out of high school was a pretty big accomplishment and now the stuff he's doing now, of course he's a big inspiration. I want to get there as well, so I just got to keep working."

Besides finishing second to James in last year's MVP voting, Durant's Thunder lost to the Heat in five games in the NBA Finals. Thursday night's game will be the first time the teams have played at Chesapeake Energy Arena since the Heat won Game 2 of the Finals, then returned home to win the next three games and the title.

Miami won on its home court on Christmas Day in the only other meeting this season.

"It's really fun. I think both teams accept the challenge," said James, who has made 60 of his last 80 field-goal attempts. "Both teams also know it doesn't define the season, win, lose or draw. I think both teams want to continue to get better and end on a high note going into the break. But we're not going to put added pressure on it (see full story).

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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