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THE INSIDE TRACK | NOTES ON A SCORECARD / ALLAN MALAMUD

Shaq's Attack Needs Time Before a Final Judgment

May 29, 1996|ALLAN MALAMUD

Sorry, but I still hope that NBA insider Dennis Rodman is right about Shaquille O'Neal leaving the Orlando Magic and signing with the Lakers. . . .

Before you label O'Neal a loser, consider that Michael Jordan didn't play for an NBA champion until his seventh season in the league, Julius Erving until his seventh, Wilt Chamberlain until his eighth, Oscar Robertson until his 11th or Jerry West until his 12th. . . .

O'Neal just completed his fourth season with the Magic. . . .

If it weren't for Jordan's minor league baseball career, the Chicago Bulls probably would be seeking their sixth consecutive title. . . .

The difference between the Bulls and Magic might have been defense, but the importance of Jordan's 45 points in Game 4 should not be underestimated. . . .

Danny Ainge rates high marks for his first season as a TV commentator. . . .

Even some Laker fans who used to hate him like his style. . . .

The NBA draft isn't until June 26 at the Meadowlands. . . .

The ultimate turnaround: In their World Series championship year of 1984, the Detroit Tigers won 30 of their first 34 games. This year, they have lost 32 of their last 36 games. . . .

Angel pitchers got off easily during the recent series against Boston when they didn't have to face 1.000 hitter Roger Clemens. . . .

Mo Vaughn's statistics are close enough to Albert Belle's that there might be another American League most-valuable-player controversy. . . .

Reason No. 86 to hate enclosed baseball stadiums is the rule that gave Montreal batter Henry Rodriguez new life after his routine pop fly hit a speaker hanging from the roof in the ninth inning of Sunday's game against the Dodgers. . . .

John Smoltz, 10-1, is making Atlanta Brave announcer Don Sutton look good. Sutton said the first week of the season that Smoltz has the best stuff of any pitcher in the National League. . . .

Atlanta of the NL East and Cleveland of the AL Central are the only defending division champions residing in first place. . . .

Funny that it was the lack of a single that kept Houston second baseman Craig Biggio from hitting for the cycle Monday at Pittsburgh. . . .

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I like Honour And Glory, who flashed tremendous speed while winning the one-mile Metropolitan Handicap, in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. . . .

On Saturday at Suffolk Downs in Boston, Cigar will try to join Seabiscuit and Whirlaway as the only winners of the Massachusetts Handicap to have carried 130 pounds. . . .

Asked to describe the atmosphere at the Kentucky Derby, where his Cavonnier finished second this year, trainer Bob Baffert said, "It's an equine Woodstock." . . .

If USC had beaten Oklahoma State in the regional final on Sunday at Lubbock, Texas, and advanced to the College World Series, the Trojans' come-from-behind, 13-10 victory in 11 innings over host Texas Tech earlier in the day would have been recognized as one of the greatest and most important in school history. . . .

Sim Iness, the 1952 Olympic discus throw champion who died last week at 65, and Bob Mathias, the 1952 Olympic decathlon champion, were teammates at little Tulare High in Central California. . . .

Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia, the probable favorite in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters at the Atlanta Games, is only 5 feet 3. . . .

Tiger Woods of Stanford will try to win his first NCAA individual golf title this week at Chattanooga, Tenn. . . .

Speaking of Tigers, this has been quite a year for Princeton, which upset UCLA in the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament and Monday beat Virginia in overtime for the national lacrosse title. . . .

Wayne Gretzky's 1994 Ferrari will be featured at a classic car auction July 12-14 at Santa Barbara. . . .

After watching Detroit handle Colorado in Game 5 of their Western Conference championship series, it's hard to understand why the Red Wings have been struggling in the playoffs. . . .

Now if only Mary Pierce's game can match her tennis dress for excitement. . . .

Kirk Robertson, the starting center on the Arizona State football team and a zoology major who is nicknamed "Doctor," co-wrote a magazine article titled, "Morphology of Wing Mechanoreceptors Involved in the Wing Retraction Reflex in the Pteropod Mollusc Clione Limacina."

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