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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Hardly Seems Any Way to Talk of the Tinman

April 23, 1998|MAL FLORENCE

The New Jersey Nets have activated assistant coach and longtime journeyman Jack Haley, the former UCLA player, because of injuries to key players.

Said Haley, "There's no question that what I can bring, we're in dire need of: leadership, enthusiasm. I'm the perfect fit from what's available."

Calloused comment by Bob Young in the Arizona Republic: "Which means nobody was available."

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Trivia time: Who holds the record for free throws made in an NBA playoff game?

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Inevitable scenario: Mike Littwin in the Rocky Mountain News, on the firing of Denver Nugget Coach Bill Hanzlik:

"It was swift and merciful and maybe even just. Sorry, Bill. Being a good soldier simply isn't enough these days, not when your army goes 11-71. They'd fire Napoleon after this season."

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Sticks and stones: Reggie Miller of the Indiana Pacers, responding to a recent remark by Michael Jordan that playing against Miller is like cat-fighting with a woman:

"I can't figure out what's in his head. I can only go out and play. But I look at it as an honor. If he's thinking about me that much, I kind of like it."

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Bon voyage: Phoenix Coyote forward Rick Tocchet, on his three suspensions and $238,975 in lost salary and fines:

"I just bought the NHL a whole new set of office furniture and their next trip to Maui."

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Take that, rookie: Rookie guard Bobby Jackson of the Denver Nuggets refused to go into a recent game with a minute and a half left. Said Terry Frei of the Denver Post: "Now he thinks he's as good as Oscar Robertson. He might be. The problem is, Oscar is 59 years old."

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A big splash: Matt Williams of the Arizona Diamondbacks recently hit a ball off the warning track and into the swimming pool beyond the right-center-field fence in Bank One Ballpark.

It was announced in the press box as "a ground-pool double."

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Who knows? From the Vent column in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "If the Golden Bear [Jack Nicklaus] could have ridden around Augusta National on a golf cart this year, he probably would have won the Masters."

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Looking back: On this day in 1969, Jerry West scored 53 points and led the Lakers to a 120-118 victory over the Boston Celtics in the opening game of the NBA finals. The Celtics, however, won the championship in seven games.

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Trivia answer: Bob Cousy of the Celtics, 30 of 32 in four overtimes against the Syracuse Nationals--now the Philadelphia 76ers--in 1953.

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And finally: Dave Blume, an assistant editor of L.A. Times Magazine, offers this update on Monday's Briefing item on Boston Brave Manager Casey Stengel's run-in with a cab:

"On the day the taxicab hit Stengel (a very unsuccessful manager in those days), columnist Dave Egan of the Boston Daily Record proposed that the cab driver be nominated for the Braves' most valuable player of 1943."

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