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Coast To Coast

December 24, 2006|Mark Heisler

Looks like another cold winter in Minnesota

Allen Iverson's biggest impact may not be in Denver, which still doesn't figure to dominate, or in Philadelphia, where it was over long ago.

Try Minnesota, where he seemed to be the best fit -- and not by a narrow margin -- and failing to land him may be the last straw.

In their next game, the Timberwolves blew a 10-point fourth-quarter lead as the Lakers' subs overwhelmed them. Mike James grew agitated when asked if the trade talk was a distraction, but Kevin Garnett acknowledged his disappointment.

"That's pretty much how things go around here," Garnett said. "I've learned not to put much hope and belief in things until they're concretely done."

Take the Clippers,please ...

The Iverson talks were a bummer for the Clippers, who wouldn't give up Shaun Livingston. Now people are comparing them, saying Livingston had better become a superstar.

In real life as opposed to talk radio, you'd better think twice about giving up top prospects. Ask the Celtics, who rue the days they traded rookies Chauncey Billups and Joe Johnson.

Livingston isn't just any prospect. Boston was ready to trade Paul Pierce for him last season. Trading Livingston for Iverson would have turned the Clippers into a team with a two-year window past this season, which is all Iverson has under contract.

It's one thing to get him as the Nuggets did, for nothing that meant anything to them. Giving up Livingston was something else entirely.

Busy week, even for this league

TNT's Charles Barkley on Carmelo Anthony's sucker-punching Mardy Collins and retreating to half court: "His boys loved the punch, hated the backpedal." ... Said the Suns' Steve Nash: "Typical NBA punch. In hockey, your own team would beat you up for that." ... Iverson, defending his new teammate to TNT's John Thompson: "Got to stick and move, Coach." ... Congratulations to Anthony, who chose not to appeal -- although an arbitrator might well have reduced his 15-game suspension -- taking his penalty like a man. ... Meanwhile, J.R. Smith, who doesn't have as good an argument -- and whose case will be heard by David Stern instead of an independent arbitrator -- appealed. ... The Celtics went 5-1, making the Iverson talks the best thing to happen to them since Larry Bird retired. Said Al Jefferson, who averaged 19 points and 12 rebounds after his name came up: "I think it motivated everybody together, because we know we can be a great team and we didn't really want to be separated." ... Meanwhile, back at the PR debacle, the 76ers patted themselves on the back -- at the expense of the player who meant so much for so long. Said Coach Maurice Cheeks: "It excites me that I get a point guard [Andre Miller] that has the knowledge of the game and looks to share the basketball to help his teammates get better." ... Cheeks better turn them around -- soon -- if he hopes to coach Miller next season, but Miller never had it so good. Said 76ers Chairman Ed Snider: "What a classy young man. I think we need a little dose of class around here.

Famous last words

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson, wondering how Iverson will run the Nuggets' pet alley-oop: "They may not find the lobs quite as easy from Iverson. They may be more like shots that they have to track down as offensive rebounds."

-- Mark Heisler

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