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NBA PLAYOFFS | NOTES

Austin 'Most Improved'

May 04, 1997|From Associated Press

Isaac Austin of the Miami Heat, who came back from a season in Turkey, was voted the NBA's most improved player on Saturday.

Austin, a 6-foot-10 center, averaged 9.7 points and 5.8 rebounds and shot 50% as the backup to Alonzo Mourning. When Mourning was injured late in the season, Austin started and averaged 15.1 points and 8.1 rebounds.

He received 41 votes of a possible 115 from a panel of media members, 24 more than Toronto's Doug Christie. Portland's Rasheed Wallace was third with 13 votes and Austin's teammate, Voshon Lenard, was fourth with nine votes.

Austin played for Tuborg Izmir in Turkey in the 1995-96 season after spending parts of three seasons with Utah and Philadelphia.

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Former Phoenix Sun coach Paul Westphal is expected to be in Denver on Monday to interview for the vacant Nugget job.

Westphal, who coached the Suns to the 1993 NBA Finals, would be the second candidate to interview with Denver since the Nuggets fired Dick Motta at the end of the season. Westphal had a 191-88 record when he was fired by the Suns in January 1996.

Former San Antonio and Philadelphia coach John Lucas met with the Nuggets last Monday.

The leading candidate, however, is believed to be Atlanta assistant coach Bill Hanzlik. Bristow said he will not talk to Hanzlik until the Hawks are out of the playoffs.

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