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Inside the NBA

Coast To Coast

December 23, 2007|Mark Heisler

He came, he saw, he tried

With Dwyane Wade returning to form, and Miami now 6-16 with him anyway, it looks as if it's just a matter of how to get its aging stars off the stage gracefully.

Another one bit the dust last week when 37-year-old Alonzo Mourning suffered a knee injury that almost certainly ended his great career.

As inappropriate as the word "warrior" is in sports, if it applied to an athlete it was Mourning, a standard-size power forward at 6-9 whose ferocity made him a center and whose great heart extended to his annual "Zo's Summer Groove" benefit.

He left as he arrived, assisted by teammates after waving away a stretcher.

"I went through so much in my life," Mourning said, "that if I had to crawl off the court, I would have."

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Age of information: Beware all who enter

Are you sure this is what Thomas Jefferson meant about a free marketplace of ideas?

Item: Knicks beat writers jokingly told one of their members that Eddy Curry had just guaranteed a victory over Indiana.

The next thing you know, the Pacers thought it actually happened. Said Jermaine O'Neal after their 119-92 victory: "We did talk about it. I'm not going to lie."

Item: Cleveland's LeBron James bumped into Coach Mike Brown on the way back to the bench, in a snippet that was replayed endlessly, analyzed ad nauseam and posted on YouTube, and burned up chat rooms.

The next day, James had to deny he did it on purpose because he's upset with Brown.

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Beware all who enter (cont.)

New York Coach Isiah Thomas is booed so mercilessly, Madison Square Garden ushers now pass out guidelines telling fans behind the bench what they can't say.

As for leadership among his players, Stephon Marbury has missed six of nine games since his father's death.

"Sometimes they just don't play hard," said James before Cleveland's loss there last week. "It's more times they don't play hard than they do. . . .

"I would never allow my team not to have effort. You have to have a leader in the locker room. A coach can only do so much."

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For whom the wolves howl

Who'd have thought the Minnesota Timberwolves were in for a long, hard time after trading Kevin Garnett for Al Jefferson and the end of Boston's bench?

Oh yeah, everyone.

"I said when we decided to do this that I needed to have patience," owner Glen Taylor told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "It has taken me more patience than I anticipated."

Who'd have thought there wouldn't be more promising signs seven weeks into their rebuilding project?

Oh yeah, everyone.

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For whom the Rockets pine

Houston owner Les Alexander was so tired of Coach Jeff Van Gundy's gloomy demeanor and slow offense, he fired him after the team was 52-30 last season.

In came Rick Adelman, who was supposed to turn their offense loose. Unfortunately for Adelman, all their three-point shooters went cold and their defense fell apart.

"It's not because they [opponents] are so tough, it's because of how soft we are," said Yao Ming. "It's weird that we changed that quick. I feel like they traded me to another team, a new team I've never been on before."

-- Mark Heisler

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