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PRO BASKETBALL / DAILY REPORT : LAKERS

Now They Have a Blount Instrument

March 01, 1997|SCOTT HOWARD-COOPER

Having managed only 27 minutes before Friday in the two weeks since being activated, Corie Blount returned to the same prominence against the Atlanta Hawks that he held before going out because of a torn thumb ligament.

The 12 points and six rebounds in 17 minutes might not have been Blount's best showing of the season, but it was certainly up there. If nothing else, it was his first real game action since the two starts in the first week of January, days before he went on the injured list. That cost him a month.

"I'm just trying to impress him as much as I can and let him know I'm ready to play," the reserve forward said of Coach Del Harris.

This did it. Whether it did it enough, of course, remains to be seen.

"It's hard to tell with Coach," Blount said. "I'm just going to stay ready and if I get the call, go out and continue it. It doesn't matter if I do it for one night."

*

Shaquille O'Neal is scheduled to be in Baton Rouge, La., today to take part in postgame festivities honoring his Louisiana State coach, Dale Brown. This is the final home game for Brown, who is stepping down. Several former players will be on hand. . . . The Lakers are off today before playing Sunday afternoon at Indiana, the team that brought George McCloud into the NBA as a lottery pick. Having passed through many times before, it's only another game. The finale to the five-game trip, Tuesday at Dallas, could have meant more because McCloud will be making his first trip back to Reunion Arena since being traded by the Mavericks to the Nets, except that almost everyone else has been traded too. "There's not many of my teammates there anymore, so it doesn't have the same significance," he said. "The only guy really still there that I know is Derek Harper. Him and Samaki Walker. So it doesn't have the same meaning."

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