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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

It's So Close, Yet So Far Away for the Knicks

May 20, 1997|MAL FLORENCE

John Starks of the Knicks before New York was eliminated from the NBA playoffs last Sunday by the Miami Heat:

"We're getting too close now, we can taste it. You know what it's like? It's like some toy you wanted your whole life. That's the only way I can describe it. We want it so bad, it's almost impossible to put it in words. We all want the same thing--one more shot."

Shoot for 1998, John.

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Trivia time: Who was the last American male to win the marathon in the Olympic Games?

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Moving on: A sign at Miami Arena during the Heat's decisive victory over the New York Knicks: "First the bullies, then the Bulls."

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The cynic: Bernie Lincicome of the Chicago Tribune on Michael Jordan's loyalty to Coach Phil Jackson: "Such devotion usually comes with a flea collar."

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Way out: From Michael Ventre of MSNBC: "Now that IBM's Deep Blue has defeated Garry Kasparov, there are already rumblings that the computer and its agent will stage a holdout in an effort to get more memory."

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Biting comment: Buffalo Sabre tough guy Matthew Barnaby had Sabre emblems etched into his teeth, one for each round the team advanced in the playoffs.

Said Eric Lindros after the Philadelphia Flyers eliminated the Sabres: "We told him to come by our dressing room after the game and we'd give him a couple hundred bucks to get his teeth fixed."

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New golf jargon: Tiger Woods describing a wind-blown shot that ended up short in the third round of the GTE Byron Nelson tournament:

"It just happened to catch one of those gusts and when that happened you get Mutomboed," referring to Dikembe Mutombo, the shot-blocking center of the Atlanta Hawks.

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Marksman: Philadelphia pitcher Bobby Munoz after giving up six runs and nine hits in two innings in a recent 9-2 loss to Colorado: "I just kept hitting bats."

Footnote: Munoz refused a minor-league assignment by the Phillies and became a free agent Monday.

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Looking back: On this day in 1990, Monica Seles ended Steffi Graf's 66-match winning streak with a 6-4, 6-3 victory in the German Open.

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Sound familiar? Frank Fitzpatrick of the Philadelphia Inquirer on the Phillies ending a protracted hitting slump by shelling Pittsburgh Pirate pitcher Steve Parris:

"It might not amount to a hill of beans in this crazy baseball season. But even if the fog never lifts, the Phillies will always have Parris."

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Trivia answer: Frank Shorter in the 1972 Games in Munich, Germany.

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And finally: The marathon at this summer's World Track and Field championships in Greece will start, appropriately, in the ancient town of Marathon.

The course is said to closely follow the route taken by an Athenian courier, Pheidippides, in 490 B.C. from the plain of Marathon to the Acropolis in Athens, where he collapsed and died after announcing the victory of the Greeks against Persian invaders.

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