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  1. #1
    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Some interesting articles

    Great quote at the very end by Matt Bullard

    WINDERMAN: NBA Sunday column
    The winners are ...
    Published April 17, 2005


    The award is selected by media, with the ballot requiring the listing of five names in order.

    This ballot: 1. Shaquille O'Neal, Heat; 2. Steve Nash, Suns; 3. Tim Duncan, Spurs; 4. Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks; 5. Allen Iverson, 76ers.

    Reasoning: While a case certainly can be made for Nash, the bottom line is that the point guard left the Mavericks and Dallas still was pretty good this season. By contrast, O'Neal left the Lakers and now the lottery awaits.

    While O'Neal hardly produced career stats, if one went solely by numbers, Iverson would rate closer to the top, as would Nowitzki. So so much for that argument.

    Also worth considering: Ray Allen, Sonics; Kevin Garnett, Timberwolves; LeBron James, Cavaliers; Amare Stoudemire, Suns; Dwyane Wade, Heat.

    2004 winner: Kevin Garnett, Timberwolves.


    The award is selected by media, with the ballot requiring the listing of three names in order.

    This ballot: 1. Rick Carlisle, Pacers; 2. George Karl, Nuggets; 3. Mike D'Antoni, Suns.

    Reasoning: Ron Artest brawled his way to a November conclusion of his season. Suspension and injury took Jermaine O'Neal away for half the schedule. Then there was the time the league mandated Stephen Jackson sit and the foot problems that sidelined Jamaal Tinsley. Through it all, the Pacers go into the final games contending for home-court advantage in the playoffs. Remarkable.

    While Karl was around about as much as some of those aforementioned Pacers, he emerged as Coach of the Half Year and a fitting runner-up to Carlisle. In any other year, D'Antoni could have run away with the honor.

    Also worth considering: Mike Fratello, Grizzlies; Eddie Jordan, Wizards; Nate McMillan, Sonics; Scott Skiles, Bulls; Stan Van Gundy, Heat.

    2004 winner: Hubie Brown, Grizzlies.


    The award is selected by media, with the ballot requiring the listing of three names in order.

    This ballot: 1. Marcus Camby, Nuggets; 2. Kevin Garnett, Timberwolves; 3. Bruce Bowen, Spurs.

    Reasoning: There is a reason George Karl was able to get his team's defense to come around. The reason was Camby. And the reason the Nuggets endured was because Camby endured beyond the usual injury setbacks.

    Garnett's rebounding numbers keep him at the top of this field, with the perimeter nod that last season went to Artest this season given to Bowen.

    Also worth considering: Tyson Chandler, Bulls; Larry Hughes, Wizards; Andrei Kirilenko, Jazz; Shawn Marion, Suns; Tayshaun Prince, Pistons; Ben Wallace, Pistons.

    2004 winner: Ron Artest, Pacers.


    The award is selected by media, with the ballot requiring the listing of three names in order.

    This ballot: 1. Ben Gordon, Bulls; 2. Emeka Okafor, Bobcats; 3. Dwight Howard, Magic.

    Reasoning: Gordon made a difference on a team that made a difference. No, he did not have to toil with an expansion team like Okafor, but the guard helped prevent Chicago from looking like one again.

    Okafor certainly had the numbers, but he also had a former UConn teammate, in Gordon, who made more noise. And yes, we agree with the thinking that years from now Howard could mature into the prize of this class.

    Also worth considering: Andre Iguodala, 76ers; Josh Smith, Hawks; Beno Udrih, Spurs.

    2004 winner: LeBron James, Cavaliers.


    The award is selected by media, with the ballot requiring the listing of three names in order.

    This ballot: 1. Ben Gordon, Bulls; 2. Vladimir Radmanovic, Sonics; 3. Ricky Davis, Celtics.

    Reasoning: No player has produced more double-figure scoring totals in the fourth quarter than the Bulls rookie. He changes the complexion of a game when he enters, which is the definition of the award.

    Although injured at the end of the season, Radmanovic provided a spark for a team that relied on its bench to emerge as a contender. Davis has always been a dynamic scorer, but he essentially has played starters' minutes in producing his bench points.

    Also worth considering: Earl Boykins, Nuggets; Antonio Daniels, Sonics; Donyell Marshall, Raptors; Antonio McDyess, Pistons; Jerry Stackhouse, Mavericks; Wally Szczerbiak, Timberwolves.

    2004 winner: Antawn Jamison, Mavericks.


    The award is selected by general managers, with the ballot requiring the listing of a single name (since we're not a GM, we'll list our top three).

    This ballot: 1. Pat Riley, Miami; 2. Bryan Colangelo, Suns; 3. John Paxson, Bulls.

    Reasoning: Riley traded for Shaquille O'Neal without giving up his best player, Dwyane Wade. Enough said.

    Had Shaq not been dealt by the Lakers, then Colangelo would have been hailed for the heists of Nash and Quentin Richardson, as well as the canny additions of Jim Jackson and Walter McCarty. Only such thefts shut out Paxson from cashing in on the drafting of Ben Gordon, Luol Deng and Chris Duhon, as well as the signing of Andres Nocioni, and the perseverance to retain his other young players.

    Also worth considering: R.C. Buford, Spurs; Carroll Dawson, Rockets; Ernie Grunfeld, Wizards.

    2004 winner: Jerry West, Memphis.


    The award is selected by media, with the ballot requiring the listing of three names in order.

    This ballot: 1. Bobby Simmons, Clippers; 2. Dwyane Wade, Heat; 3. Tayshaun Prince, Pistons.

    Reasoning: While it could be argued that Wade, or even LeBron James, made the most difficult of strides, from star to superstar, this award generally has gone to players who emerged from obscurity.

    In that respect, Simmons makes more sense in the lineage of previous winners Pervis Ellison, Ike Austin, Alan Henderson and Darrell Armstrong.

    The irony is that this originally was the Comeback Player award, in which case we might have made an argument for Reggie Miller.

    Also worth considering: Chris Bosh, Raptors; Primoz Brezec, Bobcats; Dan Dickau, Hornets; LeBron James, Cavaliers; Joel Pryzbilla, Trail Blazers; Amare Stoudemire, Suns.

    2004 winner: Zach Randolph, Blazers.


    This award is selected by media, with the ballot requiring three, position-specific teams.

    First team: G Steve Nash, Suns; G Allen Iverson, 76ers; F Tim Duncan, Spurs; F Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks; C Shaquille O'Neal, Heat.

    Second team: G Dwyane Wade, Heat; G Kobe Bryant, Lakers; F Kevin Garnett, Timberwolves; F Ben Wallace, Pistons; C Amare Stoudemire, Suns.

    Third team: G Gilbert Arenas, Wizards; G Ray Allen, Sonics; F LeBron James, Cavaliers; F Shawn Marion, Suns; C Marcus Camby, Nuggets.

    Also worth considering: F Vince Carter, Nets; F Rashard Lewis, Sonics; F Tracy McGrady, Rockets; G Paul Pierce, Celtics; C Yao Ming, Rockets.


    The award is selected by coaches, with the ballot requiring two, non-position-specific teams.

    First team: G Ben Gordon, Bulls; F Emeka Okafor, Bobcats; F Dwight Howard, Magic; F Andre Iguodala, 76ers; G Josh Smith, Hawks.

    Second Team: G Beno Udrih, Spurs; G J.R. Smith, Hornets; F Luol Deng, Bulls; F Al Jefferson, Celtics; C Nenad Krstic, Nets.

    Also worth considering: G Tony Allen, Celtics; F Matt Bonner, Raptors; G Josh Childress, Hawks; G Chris Duhon, Bulls; G Jameer Nelson, Magic; F Andres Nocioni, Bulls; F Anderson Varejao, Cavaliers.


    The award is selected by coaches, with the ballot requiring two, position-specific teams.

    First team: G Bruce Bowen, Spurs; G Larry Hughes, Wizards; F Shawn Marion, Suns; F Ben Wallace, Pistons; C Marcus Camby, Nuggets.

    Second team: G Kobe Bryant, Lakers; G Dwyane Wade, Heat; F Kevin Garnett, Timberwolves; F Tayshaun Prince, Pistons; C Tim Duncan, Spurs.

    In the Lane

    MOVING ON? For those who forget, the trading period resumes at season's end for teams out of the playoffs. Other teams are allowed to make moves once they are eliminated. Among those who could be on the move (either during the trading period or through free agency, which starts July 1):

    Timberwolves guards Latrell Sprewell and Sam Cassell, who last week were termed a "failed experiment" by owner Glen Taylor. Sprewell is a free agent, while Cassell said the owner's words cut so deep that he couldn't envision returning, although, with $6.1 million due next season from the 'Wolves, that decision does not rest with Cassell.

    Magic guard Doug Christie, who, like former Magic forward Tracy McGrady, said differences with General Manager John Weisbrod make an enduring relationship "extremely difficult." Christie has one season left on his contract, at $8.2 million, with Weisbrod insisting the guard isn't going anywhere.

    Blazers guard Nick Van Exel, who now is not so sure he wants to retire. Van Exel is due a non-guaranteed $12.7 million for next season, meaning Portland can wait on a decision with the guard until training camp, or use him as a salary-cap chip. "I want a chance to be on a playoff-contending team," Van Exel, 33, said.

    Warriors forward Nokoloz Tskitishvili, whose midseason trade from Denver to Golden State did not result in a reprieve from the end of the bench. At 22, Tskitishvili said he might bypass free agency to return to Europe. "I don't want to get old and not [have] any experience," he said.

    Pistons forward Carlos Delfino, who told the Argentine newspaper Clarin that his relationship with coach Larry Brown had grown so fractured that he recently considered returning home. The Olympic standout has two years at $2 million left guaranteed on his rookie-scale contract.

    Knicks forward Kurt Thomas, who is due $22 million over the next three seasons and nearly was dealt to Cleveland in February. "I've been a Knick for seven years and almost every year my name has come up in trade talks," the former Heat forward said.

    NO, NO NOCIONI: Four games after being labeled a "punk" by Heat coach Stan Van Gundy for his takedown of Dwyane Wade, Chicago forward Andres Nocioni was suspended one game after being chastised by Pistons coach Larry Brown for a hard foul on Tayshaun Prince. To the Bulls, it is a case of the NBA taking a cue from the power franchises. "They're listening to elite teams in the league and we end up getting hurt because of it," General Manager John Paxson said. "I think it's a compliment to Andres that teams are frustrated by how he competes. If the lead teams or star players complain, the league tends to listen."

    TOUGH GUY, TOO: Then there's Utah rookie forward Kirk Snyder, who last week was suspended one game for a postgame scrap beneath the stands in Dallas with Mavericks guard Jerry Stackhouse. While most viewed Stackhouse as the aggressor, it is at least the third incident involving Snyder, who kicked at Heat forward Rasual Butler during one game and confronted the Rockets' bench during another. Before the latest incident, Stackhouse complained to the referees that Snyder was intentionally throwing elbows.

    LAKER LINEAGE: With his team at the bottom of the Western Conference, Hornets coach Byron Scott said he has been able to persevere through the assurances of Heat President Pat Riley, his former Lakers coach. "He sent me a letter a couple of months ago about hanging in there and persevering," said Scott, who met with Riley last week in Los Angeles during a reunion of the Lakers' 1985 title team. "I have a pipeline to maybe the best coach to have ever coached this game. There are not a lot of people who can say that."

    STILL TALKING: Having talked his way out of South Florida, former Heat forward Wesley Person now is making noise in Denver, saying his Nuggets would welcome a playoff series against the Sonics. "It would be nice to play Seattle because they haven't had the success that San Antonio has had in the playoffs the last few years," Person said. ... As it is, the Sonics hardly are enamored of the Nuggets, at least not after Denver coach George Karl spent part of a recent game holding an infant while working on the sidelines. The Nuggets' mascot had handed the child to an unsuspecting Karl, who nonetheless was criticized. "We're going to bring our babies out next time," Sonics forward Reggie Evans said. ... Former University of Utah coach and ESPN analyst Rick Majerus has joined the Nuggets as an unpaid consultant to Karl.

    HEATED ISSUES: Former Heat assistant coach Marc Iavaroni, now a Suns assistant, has been linked to the Blazers' coaching vacancy. ... Former Heat television analyst Mike Fratello continues to endure turbulent times in Memphis, with guards Jason Williams and Bonzi Wells both calling out their coach over the past week for what they considered ill-timed removal from games.

    DOWN ... OUT?: With San Antonio big men Tim Duncan and Rasho Nesterovic having missed time because of injury, the Spurs are considering loading their playoff roster with reserve big men. The inclusion of Robert Horry, Nazr Mohammed and Tony Massenburg on the playoff roster could come at the cost of a spot for rookie point guard Beno Udrih. ... The Kings plan to have center Brad Miller and guard Bobby Jackson on their playoff roster, but questions remain about whether either will be healthy in time.

    By The Numbers

    23 -- Career 4-point plays (3-pointer, free throw) by Pacers guard Reggie Miller, with retired guard Michael Adams second on the all-time list at 11. Miller had his latest last week against the Nets.

    4 -- Stitches Rockets center Yao Ming required to his chin after taking a blow in the third quarter of Monday's victory over Seattle.

    4 -- Stitches Yao had removed a day earlier from his chin from a cut he sustained against Phoenix a week earlier.

    .387 -- Career winning percentage of NBA coaches who played collegiately under Bob Knight (Isiah Thomas, Butch Carter, Randy Wittman, Keith Smart, Quinn Buckner and current Hawks coach Mike Woodson, whose team has the NBA's worst record).

    24 -- Couples married Monday during halftime of Dallas' home game against Memphis. The plans were for 25 couples to take part in the team's 25th anniversary, but cold feet left the team one couple short.

    The List

    With the Heat uneven in recent weeks, a look at how recent NBA champions fared down the stretch of their title seasons:

    Season, Champion, Last 10, Last 15, Last 20

    2003-04, Pistons, 8-2, 12-3, 16-4
    2002-03, Spurs, 8-2, 12-3, 16-4
    2001-02, Lakers, 7-3, 11-4, 14-6
    2000-01, Lakers, 9-1, 11-4, 15-5
    1999-00, Lakers, 7-3, 12-3, 16-4

    They Said It

    "I'm not Steve Nash. I'm not going to get you 22 assists." -- Wizards point guard Gilbert Arenas, after scoring a career-high 44 points in a loss to the 76ers, with only three assists.

    "You have to give them the ball and let them feel good about themselves." -- Arenas, after closing with a season-high 13 assists the following game, in a victory over the Bucks, while attempting only nine shots.

    "I gave up my body to science, at least to the Amare Stoudemire Foundation." -- Warriors center Adonal Foyle, after twice yielding showcase dunks to the Suns center.

    "Our goal was to get as many wins as possible and not be the worst team in the NBA." -- Bobcats guard Brevin Knight, whose team beat Atlanta twice last week to hand the Hawks that distinction.

    "If they want him, I'm going to back him. If they go with somebody else, I'm going to back who they pick." -- Knicks guard Stephon Marbury, offering a less-than-ringing endorsement for interim coach Herb Williams.

    "Working on ESPN with Stephen A. Smith would have been a nightmare." -- Former Rockets forward Matt Bullard, on emerging as a loser on ESPN's Dream Job.

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    Reggie Miller going out on a high

    By Michael Cunningham
    Staff Writer
    Posted April 17 2005

    Today is the last time Reggie Miller will play at AmericanAirlines Arena unless he can somehow lift the weakened Pacers past the first round of the playoffs for a later meeting with the Heat.

    Considering Miller's reputation as the ultimate clutch performer, is there any doubt that is possible?

    Miller has said he will retire after this season, his 18th. He will leave as one of the best shooters in NBA history, particularly in tight situations.

    "Without a doubt, one of the best," Heat guard Eddie Jones said. "The tops."

    With suspensions and injuries leaving the Pacers in disarray for much of this season, Miller has increased his production. He's averaging 14.8 points while playing 31.8 minutes per game, both his highest since the 2001-02 season.

    The whispers started that Miller was washed up last season, when he averaged 10 points, his lowest total since his rookie season. Then the playoffs arrived and the Pacers, needing a Game 2 victory against the Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals, looked to Miller.

    He delivered with 19 points in 18 minutes of Indiana's 91-80 victory at Conseco Fieldhouse, and the Pacers went on to win the series, 4-2.

    "Last year he didn't have a year like he is doing this year, but when he did it, you kind of looked at it like that is Reggie being great," Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. "His team needed him to step up, and he did. That is just his greatness."

    One shot Miller made against the Heat was a twisting, falling 3-pointer over Jones at the end of the first half, a shot that electrified the crowd and the Pacers.

    "The shots he was hitting [were] incredible," Jones said.

    Miller, who holds the NBA record for career 3-pointers, has done it his whole career.

    In 1994, he put down Pat Riley's Knicks with 25 fourth-quarter points. The next season he did it again with his famous eight-point, 8.9-second outburst to shock the Knicks and Spike Lee in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

    Miller averaged 24 points as the Pacers pushed Shaquille O'Neal's Los Angeles Lakers to six games in the 2000 Finals. In the 2002 playoffs, Miller drilled a 40-foot 3-pointer to force overtime against the Nets and dunked at the buzzer to send the game to a second overtime.

    Last week, Miller moved past Jerry West into 12th place on the league's all-time scoring list. His 88.8 career free-throw percentage is seventh best in league history, and he is the sixth player to play more than 47,000 minutes.

    "He is in the Hall of Fame," Jones said. "He has had a hell of a career."

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    Commentary: Miller's play, antics are stuff of legend
    By Chris Perkins

    Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

    Sunday, April 17, 2005

    Today might be the last time South Floridians see legendary Indiana guard Reggie Miller play in their hometown.

    It might also be the last time South Floridians see Indiana coach Rick Carlisle without the title of 2005 NBA Coach of the Year.

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    The 39-year-old Miller, the five-time All-Star who has played all of his 18 seasons for Indiana, is retiring at the end of the season.

    Fortunately for NBA fans, His Skinniness will be on display in the playoffs, giving one of the best clutch shooters the league has known another chance to inspire us with jaw-dropping heroics.

    The image we'll all have of Miller, the NBA's all-time leader in three-pointers attempted and made, is his toothpick of a body scurrying on the baseline, elbows and knees flying, going around two screens, catching a pass and shooting fractions of a second after he catches the ball.

    No one will ever forget Miller's most memorable moment, when he scored eight points in the final 8.9 seconds in Game 1 of the 1995 Eastern Conference semifinals and led the Pacers to an amazing come-from-behind 107-105 victory against New York at Madison Square Garden.

    It happened right in the face of Spike Lee, Knicks fan/actor/director/antagonist.

    Even though Lee and Miller have had a famous rivalry, they aren't enemies.

    But Knicks fans blamed Lee for that loss because he sat in his sideline seat talking trash to Miller, apparently getting him riled up.

    Everybody remembers Miller, tongue hanging out of his mouth, doing the international sign for choking right in Lee's bespectacled mug.

    "He likes being the bad guy, the villain, especially in New York," Lee told New York reporters. "But the whole thing is, me and Reggie were cool. But when he did this (grabbing his throat) and started cursing, that's when it got personal."

    Miller, known for both flopping and trash-talking, got his comeuppance of sorts when the Pacers faced the Knicks in the first round of the 1993 playoffs. Fiery New York guard John Starks gave Miller a head-butt, and to this day he doesn't regret his action.

    "It needed to happen," Starks told New York reporters. "It's just like when you're a young player and you're coming into this league, most veteran guys are going to test you to see where you're at, and basically he was testing me to see where I was at and what type of individual I was.

    "And he got the full brunt of what type of individual I was. After the incident, I had no more problems out of Reggie talking to me about anything."

    Obviously, that didn't slow down Miller, the 11th pick in the 1987 draft out of UCLA.

    He's one of the most accurate free-throw shooters in league history at roughly 88.8 percent. He has played the sixth-most games in league history, with close to 1,400. He's 14th on the all-time scoring list with more than 25,000 points.

    As for Carlisle, what can you say about a coach who has held a team together in the face of one of the most severe suspensions in NBA history (more than 60 games to forward Ron Artest) and kept them going through numerous other distractions, including injuries and bomb threats?

    Carlisle isn't a lock for Coach of the Year — he'll get tough competition from Seattle's Nate McMillan, Phoenix's Mike D'Antoni, Denver's George Karl and others — but as it has gotten later in the season, he has become a more impressive candidate.

    In the same fashion that you'd never count out Miller when it gets late, don't count out Carlisle.

    Actually, you should check them both out today.

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    Stumbling blocks

    Like no other team, the Pacers have the Heat's number


    On a team that has long owned the best record in the Eastern Conference, has put together two double-digit winning streaks and is widely considered among the favorites to win an NBA title this season, it's hard to find one glaring weak spot, an Achilles' heel that opponents can easily expose.

    So difficult, in fact, that even the pessimist, worrywart, nit-picker, negative, always-dissatisfied-

    but-generally-nice-guy Stan Van Gundy can't find one.

    ''I don't think there have been any consistent areas of failure,'' the Heat coach said, despite his team's current string of four consecutive losses -- two of which came without Shaquille O'Neal in the lineup.

    ``I don't think you'd get to 56 wins if you did.''

    So, do the Indiana Pacers know more about the Heat than its own coach does? It's the only way to explain how the team that has been stripped down more than any in the league this season is one win away from a four-game sweep of the Heat, right?

    No other team in the league can say it has beaten the Heat three times, and just to put an official stamp on the Pacers' mastery of the Heat, Indiana's regular-season winning streak over Miami dates to March 22, 2002, a span of 12 games.

    So how to explain this season's three games, all featuring different lineups on both sides, all going in favor of the Pacers?

    From the Heat's perspective, there is no single, correct answer to their failings against the Pacers. And with the fourth meeting coming today at AmericanAirlines Arena, the Heat has one final chance this regular season to prove the Pacers don't have a hidden secret.

    ''Of course you want this last one,'' Eddie Jones said. ``You don't want a team to know that they beat you four times. I think this [today's] game is very important for us.''

    The most educated of observers will say the Heat's primary weakness is a pick-and-roll defense with Shaquille O'Neal involved. Yet the Pacers don't really have the personnel to take advantage of that, making their victories all the more perplexing.


    In the Jan. 21 meeting between the two teams, the Heat, one of the league's best at taking care of the ball, threw the ball away an uncharacteristic 16 times. That allowed the Pacers to keep the game close despite being outshot and outrebounded.

    Down the stretch, Jamaal Tinsley scored over Damon Jones to send the game to overtime. Reggie Miller hit two three-pointers in overtime to put the Pacers over the top.

    ''Turnovers, I think, is a key one for us,'' Van Gundy said. ``It's not a consistent problem, but when it comes up and we're turning the ball over, we're in trouble.''

    The next time the Pacers were on the schedule -- Feb. 23 in Indianapolis -- the Heat was missing O'Neal, who sprained his left knee one night earlier against Chicago. That left Dwyane Wade to carry most of the load offensively, and he delivered with 38 points on 13-of-24 shooting and eight assists.

    But the rest of the team hit only 19 of 57 shots (33 percent), and the Heat never took a comfortable lead. In overtime, Jermaine O'Neal grabbed a key offensive rebound and scored the game-winner with 11 seconds left.

    Without Shaquille O'Neal, Udonis Haslem grabbed 18 rebounds, but the key board went to Jermaine O'Neal, setting up more heartbreak.

    ''I think if we sustain a 48-minute game, it doesn't even come down to rebounds,'' Haslem said of the losses to the Pacers. 'I think every time we play against those guys we win 45 minutes' worth of the game. Then for the last three minutes, we turn the ball over, we don't get stops, we don't score. I think if we play a 48-minute game, one rebound toward the end doesn't matter.''


    But it mattered again in the most recent meeting: March 31 at Conseco Fieldhouse. Shaquille O'Neal was in, but Jermaine O'Neal out. The Heat also was missing Eddie Jones, which turned out to be a costly loss.

    The Heat got a combined 61 points from Wade and O'Neal and led by three with 10 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. But after Stephen Jackson missed a three-pointer to tie, Dale Davis grabbed an offensive rebound that eventually got back to Jackson for another three attempt, this one good, sending the game to overtime.

    In overtime, Miller scored eight of his 31 points, taking advantage of a smaller, less-experienced defender in Keyon Dooling.

    ''I just felt like [Miller] had an edge over Keyon because he was taller and longer, but if you get some height on him it's a different story,'' said Eddie Jones, who watched the game from the sideline with a sprained ankle. ``And then he's definitely going to get those [foul] calls against Keyon because he hasn't been in the league long enough. I thought Keyon did a heck of a job, it's just that Reggie knows all the tricks.''

    Three games, three similar endings, but still no consistent reason why the Pacers give the Heat so much trouble.

    But with a Pacers-Heat second-round playoff matchup becoming a very real possibility, the Heat would like to solve the riddle soon.

    Miami's players would prefer that happen today.

    ''I think that the way Rick Carlisle has those guys playing, they play the same way all the time,'' Damon Jones said. ``Whether they're down or ahead, they play the same style. For whatever reason it's been a style that's been conducive to winning -- against us, anyway.''

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    Carlisle keeps Pacers afloat

    INDIANAPOLIS — Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh sent out an e-mail asking beat writers around the league to consider Indiana’s Rick Carlisle for NBA Coach of the Year.
    Yes, Carlisle, who has already earned the award once, won’t win 50 games for the first time as a head coach after doing so twice with the Pistons and again last year with the Pacers. However, Walsh definitely has a case.

    While the Sixers and Cavaliers have been relatively healthy yet still haven’t clinched playoff berths, the Pacers are already in the postseason despite a season filled with suspensions and injuries.

    Ron Artest, the 2003-04 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, appeared in seven games before he was suspended for going into the stands after a Pistons fan and starting a brawl.

    Jermaine O’Neal, also a returning all-star who was third in the MVP balloting, has appeared in just 41 games because of suspension and a sore right knee that will sideline him for the rest of the regular season. Starting small forward Stephen Jackson was suspended for 30 games, and starting point guard Jamaal Tinsley (bruised left foot) has missed 38 games.

    You get the picture.

    “He has done so without having our projected starting lineup of Ron Artest, Jermaine O’Neal, Jeff Foster, Jamaal Tinsley and Reggie Miller together for a single game,” Walsh wrote. “He has done so with 28 different starting lineups, using 17 different players to start. And he has done so with our two leading scorers from last season, Artest and O’Neal, missing 105 games between them. He has also had a full complement of 12 players available for just 16 of 78 games this season.

    “Our players have stepped up in many ways this season. But it has taken someone to guide them. Rick won at least 50 games in his first three seasons as a head coach, but I believe this is one of the best jobs of coaching I’ve ever seen in the NBA in my career.”

    While calling the season “the ultimate challenge,” Carlisle said before Friday night’s game with the Sixers that he was flattered by Walsh’s note, which he insisted he knew nothing about.

    “That’s very nice of him,” said Carlisle, who has accumulated a 204-120 NBA record. “He certainly didn’t have to do it. I don’t know what to say about that, other than I appreciate the gesture, but I don’t feel like I’m deserving of that award. I think there’s a lot of other guys that are more deserving than me.

    “I think it was very important that [team president] Larry Bird and Donnie Walsh had the right idea early on when they came out publicly and said, ‘Hey, we’re not going to feel sorry for ourselves. We’re going to approach this in a way that we’re still going to keep our expectations high, try to win and set out for the game goals we had before the suspensions and all the injuries.’

    “The players have done remarkable things, given the circumstances.”

    Tom Moore can be reached at (215) 345-3070 or

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    Looks like Rick is going to get a lot of votes

    Best of the NBA

    With regular season winding to close, it's time to name . . .

    Steve Nash


    Nash in a walk. Yes, Shaquille O'Neal is still the most dominant player in the game, but did anyone think Nash's addition to Phoenix would result in 60 (or more) wins and the overall No. 1 seed (potentially)? No, not even anyone in the Suns' front office.


    Chicago is back in the playoffs for the first time since 1998 and Gordon is a big reason why. He's been the Bulls' best crunch-time player since Michael Jordan and has had more of an impact on his team's record than any other rookie. That's why he gets the nod over Charlotte's Emeka Okafor, who didn't get his team enough wins.


    It was quite a year for the two most recent winners, if you remember a certain game in Auburn Hills Nov. 19. Two-time winner Ben Wallace lost it and went at last year's winner, Ron Artest. Then Artest really lost it, running into the stands to fight the fans. Wallace, Duncan, Bruce Bowen, Allen Iverson and Chicago's unheralded Kirk Hinrich, are the top candidates. The vote goes to Duncan, who has never won this award.


    If the this award was about the greatest improvement over the course of the season, the hands-down winner would be Denver's Carmelo Anthony. The league is pushing the usual kinds of suspects - Charlotte's Primoz Brezac, Detroit's Tayshaun Prince and the Clippers' Bobby Simmons. But the vote here goes to Miami's Wade. Sure, he was fantastic last year. But this season, he's elevated his game from All-Rookie to All-NBA. That sort of improvement in one season rarely happens.


    Phoenix's Mike D'Antoni is the favorite and the Bulls' Scott Skiles is getting a lot of consideration. The masterful job George Karl has done in Denver confirms to GM Kiki Vandeweghe that he should have fired Jeff Bzdelik last summer and brought in Karl at that point.

    The vote goes to the Pacers' Carlisle, however. Granted, Huntsville of the NBDL could have competed for the East's eighth playoff spot, but no other coach faced the kind of adversity Carlisle did. With all of Indiana's turmoil, Carlisle still got the Pacers to the postseason and put them in position to finish with homecourt advantage in the first round.


    Only GM's can vote for their peers, but if we could, we'd vote for Chicago's Paxson. For holding onto Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler. For sticking with Scott Skiles when everybody wanted to fire him after the Bulls lost their first nine games. For drafting Ben Gordon and Chris Duhon, trading for Luol Deng, and signing another find in Spanish League veteran Andres Nocioni. For finding a place to dump Jamal Crawford while at the same time improving Chicago's salary-cap situation.


    It's tempting to give it to Boston's Ricky Davis, just on the basis of the two words engraved on his sneakers: "Get Buckets." This should be the last year Ben Gordon is eligible. He should be starting. Denver's Earl Boykins and Dallas' Jerry Stackhouse are deserving of consideration. But the nod goes to Seattle's Radmanovic, who was instrumental in the Sonics' surprising season. They won 48 of their first 68 games, then lost Radmanovic to a leg injury. Since then they lost eight of 10 games, entering the weekend.

    Slam Dunks

    Negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement are expected to resume today or tomorrow in Manhattan. While progress continues to be made, union chief Billy Hunter was cautious in his visits this past week with several teams, including the Suns, Spurs and Timberwolves. As much as David Stern wants to get a deal done by the start of the playoffs next weekend, there is still ground to cover and Hunter doesn't view the opening of the playoffs as some sort of magical date.

    One Bulls official, who was close to Phil Jackson, can't believe all the talk about Jackson returning to the NBA next season - especially to take a job coaching a team like the Knicks. "He's not going to a situation where he can't win," Jackson's friend said. … Pat Riley continues to reiterate that he's not returning to coaching. "I think I pretty much have had my 22 years of coaching," he said this past week when he was in Los Angeles to help commemorate the Lakers' 1985 championship "I love what I'm doing now."

    Unfortunately for the Suns and everyone else who thinks they have a chance to win the West, Tim Duncan came back this week after sitting out three-and-a-half weeks due to a severe ankle sprain. The surprise is that the Spurs weathered the storm, going 8-4 without their MVP candidate, including back-to-back double-OT wins on the road, against the Clippers and Golden State.

    Eddy Curry's irregular heartbeat, which has KO'd the Bulls' center from the postseason, could be the result of too much stress or something as simple as too much caffeine, his doctors say. But they might not know, definitively until early June after six more weeks of tests … Lamar Odom is facing surgery and a four-month rehab for a torn labrum ... Minnesota owner Glen Taylor says that when he called his team a "failed experiment," he wasn't singling out Latrell Sprewell and Sam Cassell. Although he had every right to, after the kinds of seasons those two have had.

    Originally published on April 16, 2005

  7. #7
    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some interesting articles

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck
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    ''I think that the way Rick Carlisle has those guys playing, they play the same way all the time,'' Damon Jones said. ``Whether they're down or ahead, they play the same style. For whatever reason it's been a style that's been conducive to winning -- against us, anyway.''
    Yep, that's about right.

  8. #8
    Pacer fan since 1993 Ragnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some interesting articles

    Why is the Miami paper not considered the best paper in the country? Seriousley when was the last time they got in trouble for making up a stoty (hello NY Times, Boston Globe and LA Times) I am not just talking about their sports section but since thats what is posted here it is among if not the very best at least when convering basketball.

    I wish the star was half the paper the herrald is.

  9. #9
    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some interesting articles

    Quote Originally Posted by Ragnar
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    Why is the Miami paper not considered the best paper in the country? Seriousley when was the last time they got in trouble for making up a stoty (hello NY Times, Boston Globe and LA Times) I am not just talking about their sports section but since thats what is posted here it is among if not the very best at least when convering basketball.

    I wish the star was half the paper the herrald is.
    The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country but need the baseball scores.

  10. #10
    Gold Swagger Hoop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some interesting articles

    Nice articles, thanks for posting UB!
    "Just look at the flowers ........ BANG"

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