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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Did the Lakers Need This King to Get a Crown?

April 02, 1998|MAL FLORENCE

Sam Smith writing in the Basketball News: "The Los Angeles Lakers probably won't win the NBA title this season. . . . And because they were cocky, confident and a little cheap, they failed to make the deal--heck any deal--that could have added the one piece to make the Lakers the favorites to end the Bulls' run.

"Specifically that deal would have included Sacramento shooting guard Mitch Richmond, who remains among the league's top scorers.

"But it could have been someone else, someone with the ability to take a big shot, get to the foul line in a game and show veteran leadership. It's the one quality the Lakers are sorely lacking, and it's their fatal flaw."

He sounds serious, doesn't he?

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Trivia time: Who holds the NBA record for most blocked shots in one quarter?

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One of a kind: Bernie Lincicome of the Chicago Tribune writing on Utah basketball Coach Rick Majerus after his team's loss to Kentucky in the NCAA championship game:

"And there [Majerus] was, bigger than all of it, bigger than life, bigger than several lives and most parade floats, restoring for all coaches the simple joy of success, not of the prize but the journey, the anti-Knight, the anti-Lute."

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Overrated? Phoenix Sun Coach Danny Ainge isn't eager to sign European players: "I'm a little leery [of them]. Typically, they aren't as good as we think they are."

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Left-out race: Peter May in the Boston Globe: "Barring a late-season injury, Vancouver's Lee Mayberry will take over the lead for the annual Tom Van Arsdale Award.

"This recognizes the player who has the most NBA experience without ever appearing in a playoff game. Van Arsdale's career spanned 929 games and no playoffs.

"Mayberry entered the season having played 408 games for the Bucks and Grizzlies, eight ahead of Clarence Weatherspoon."

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Wait a minute: Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic writing on Randy Moss, the wide receiver from Marshall:

"He just clocked a blazing 4.23 [seconds] in the 40-yard dash, which means no one in the NFL can run with him."

Or any world-class sprinter, if that time is legitimate.

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Looking back: On this day in 1978, Affirmed won the 41st Santa Anita Derby by eight lengths. He went on to become racing's last Triple Crown champion.

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Trivia answer: Manute Bol of Washington, with eight against Milwaukee on Dec. 12, 1985 and again against Indiana on Feb. 26, 1987.

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And finally: Dan Shaughnessy in the Boston Globe: "He arrived from Japan last summer, the most disappointing import since Le Car. He was supposed to be Nolan Ryan, but his act didn't fly in the US of A.

"George Steinbrenner paid $12.8 million to bring Hideki Irabu to the Yankees and didn't get what he thought he was getting.

"Sometimes you just can't trust those foreign scouting reports. After all, the French think Jerry Lewis is funny."

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