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NBA PLAYOFFS PORTLAND vs. LAKERS: SERIES REPORT/PORTLAND
NOTES

Stoudamire Struggles With Case

April 25, 2002|Elliott Teaford

Guard Damon Stoudamire was perfectly willing to talk about basketball before the Trail Blazers conducted their practice Wednesday afternoon at Staples Center. But he did not give anything more than one-word answers when questioned about his upcoming court case.

Police, responding to a burglar alarm on the night of Feb. 23, found a one-pound bag of marijuana in Stoudamire's Lake Oswego, Ore., home.

Stoudamire was not there at the time, but facing the Denver Nuggets at the Rose Garden. Stoudamire told police the marijuana was not his and he was not arrested.

The Clackamas County grand jury, however, is scheduled to hear the case May 2 and will vote on whether to indict Stoudamire on felony drug charges. He could face up to 10 years in prison and have to pay a $200,000 fine if convicted.

In addition, he could face disciplinary action from the NBA, whether he's convicted or not.

Trail Blazer Coach Maurice Cheeks said basketball has been a "sanctuary" for Stoudamire since Feb. 23.

"Once he steps onto the floor, he's been able to focus on what he's trying to do," Cheeks said.

Asked Wednesday if he has been able to concentrate on playing basketball, what with the grand jury investigation only a week away, Stoudamire said only, "Yep."

He was a bit more expansive during an interview with the Portland Tribune earlier this week, however.

"Is it the most emotional thing I have had to deal with?" he said, repeating a reporter's question. "Yeah. In my life? Yeah. I got into trouble in high school. I got into trouble in college. But there's a lot more at stake now in terms of reputation."

Stoudamire scored four points on one-of-eight shooting in 38 minutes Sunday in the Trail Blazers' 95-87 loss to the Lakers in Game 1 of the opening-round playoff series.

Soon enough, the conversation returned to basketball and Stoudamire seemed more at ease.

When someone wondered what the Trail Blazers can do to slow Kobe Bryant, who led the Lakers with 34 points in Game 1, he gave a detailed answer.

"We held him to 10-for-28 shooting, so we did a good job on him from that standpoint," Stoudamire said, "but he made 11 of 12 free throws. We can't let him get to the line like that. I think we made him really comfortable last game. He's going to get his points. We've got to try to get up on him and try to make him go out of control a little bit and do different things. We're going to try to change the flow of his game."

*

Derek Anderson participated in the Trail Blazers' practice Wednesday, having sat out their workouts Monday and Tuesday because of flu.

Cheeks said Anderson, who had 22 points in 24 minutes in Game 1, was "still a little sick" and was concerned that he wouldn't be effective tonight in Game 2.

"I think he's ready to play," Cheeks said.

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