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The Inside Track | MORNING BRIEFING

Auerbach Blows Some Smoke at Jackson

May 19, 2003|Mike Hiserman

Phil Jackson will have to wait at least another year if he hopes to coach a record 10th NBA champion, breaking his tie with Red Auerbach, who won nine as coach of the Boston Celtics.

And don't think the old guy with the stogie isn't breathing a sigh of relief.

Interviewed on the Dan Patrick Show on ESPN Radio, Auerbach was asked if he rooted against Jackson and the Lakers.

"Absolutely," he said.

As for the Lakers making changes after their elimination by the Spurs, Auerbach said, "You can't panic, but they probably will anyway. As long as Shaq and Kobe are on the roster ... the rest of the guys don't make much difference as long as they're healthy."

Oh, and about the end of that Laker dynasty?

"Three straight," Auerbach piped up, "isn't a dynasty."

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Trivia time: The late Mal Florence, who compiled Morning Briefing for most of the last nine years before passing away Friday, had a pet peeve -- which was often mentioned in his writing. What was it?

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Blooperberg: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg last week received an honorary Doctor of Law degree from New York University. Good thing it wasn't in speech.

Accepting the honor, Bloomberg acknowledged Yankee Manager Joe Torre, another recipient. Only he pronounced Torre's name "Torr-ez" -- prompting groans from the crowd of 6,000, according to the New York Post.

"That's just the way he says it," Torre told the paper. "He knows my name."

Sure, and folk singer Pete Seeger's too. At an earlier commencement at College of St. Rose, Bloomberg introduced Seeger as Pete Rose.

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4 thought: Chicago Tribune columnist Mike Downey was thinking about a former Laker coach -- and "three-peat" entrepreneur -- as the current Lakers had their string of three consecutive NBA titles snapped.

"And too bad for Pat Riley," Downey wrote, "who probably applied for a copyright on "4-Peat," "4-Play," "4-Gotten" and "4-Get-About-It!"

Other Downey musings:

"Robert Horry took 38 three-point shots ... made two. I've seen halftime contestants shoot better."

And, "Kobe Bryant played Game 6 as if a cook from San Antonio poisoned his hamburger."

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Trivia answer: The reported 4.2-second 40-yard dash. He saw it in a news report every so often and would grumble, or write, "That makes him faster than Bob Hayes in a track suit."

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And finally: Tiger Woods passed up the fast lane while competing in the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open in Alveslohe, Germany, over the weekend.

In past years Woods drove Maseratis provided by organizers, taking the cars on the autobahn where there is no speed limit. But this year, a Lambor- ghini supplied for Woods never left the golf course parking lot.

Each day, four or five employees from the car company, hoping Woods would take their bright orange sports car for a spin, hopped to their feet as the world's top-ranked golfer passed. But Woods stepped into a Volkswagen sedan.

"It's just too flashy for me," he said.

Maybe he should have driven the sports car. After winning the tournament the previous two years, he finished 29th Sunday.

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