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Coast To Coast

December 16, 2007|Mark Heisler

You have to block and tackle -- oh, wrong sport

Toronto's T.J. Ford was wheeled off after being laid out by Atlanta's Al Horford, once more raising the question:

Why is this idiocy still around?

Commissioner David Stern's sanction against flagrant fouls disarmed menaces like the Bad Boy Pistons and Pat Riley Knicks, but all NBA coaches still have no-layup rules.

The answer: Eliminate all intentional fouls however mild -- anything that's not a play on the ball -- including Hack-a-Shaqs, which are an affront to the game.

Aside from any danger, they're b-o-r-i-n-g for fans who didn't pay to see players grab each other and troop to the free-throw line.


New York story (cont.)

The sky fell on Isiah Thomas -- again -- as his Knicks went 0-5 and his name went atop stories about the team's, uh, belated settlement with Anucha Browne Sanders -- although he wasn't found personally liable for anything.

Meanwhile, the New York Daily News' Frank Isola outed communications director Barry Watkins as the "high-ranking official" who told the other New York papers that owner James Dolan gave Thomas a vote of confidence.

Stonewalling the entire press corps, the Knicks have focused on Isola, even detailing a security man to follow him around the arena.

"I leave the Garden sometimes," Isola told the New York Observer, "and think, 'Should I look under my car before I turn the ignition?' "


All-day access, signifying nothing

The Charlotte Bobcats granted ESPN 24-hour access (it would have been nice to get a real team, but none of them would do it), showing how much effort goes into a game in terms of practices, strategy sessions and speeches.

Also, how little it means.

Coach Sam Vincent was shown at halftime with his team leading Orlando, 51-42, imploring his players just to win the third quarter by one point.

Instead, the Magic outscored them, 30-13, and won, 103-87.

It's like the old line about blessing yourself at home plate: It works if you can hit.


Still 'Sheed after all these years

Improved as the Pistons are, they still carry the seeds of their own destruction with Rasheed Wallace waiting for the right moment to blow.

When LeBron James scored his memorable 48 points in the pivotal Game 5 of last spring's Eastern Conference finals, he got an uncontested layup after Wallace called off Coach Flip Saunders' defense, confusing his teammates.

Benched for the start of last week's game in Memphis for missing a shoot-around, Wallace moped through it and had to be talked into going back in with Antonio McDyess in foul trouble.

Making it a Full Rasheed, he blamed the next night's loss in Houston on referee Dick Bavetta "and those other cats."

As Stern once said when asked about Wallace's latest transgression: "If it's Friday, it must be Rasheed Wallace."


Nostalgia time

Remember Smush Parker?

Lakers starter for two seasons? Lost his job after complaining about being benched in fourth quarters?

In any case, he just learned things could be worse in Miami, where he didn't play in the first, second or third quarters, either, and complained Riley was "real demanding -- different from Phil Jackson and what I'm used to.

"Phil didn't yell at all. Here, the locker room is made for people who yell."

-- Mark Heisler

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