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Coast To Coast

January 28, 2007|Mark Heisler

It's Gilbert's world and we're all just visiting

Not for nothing has Washington's Gilbert Arenas been called the game's most entertaining player, but this is crazy even for him.

He just celebrated his 25th birthday with a million-dollar (paid for by others, thankfully) star-studded bash that had Washington gossip columnists hopping for a week ... then made 23 of 74 shots from the field in the next four games.

He announced he would get 50 points on Feb. 11 against Portland Coach Nate McMillan, as part of his continuing revenge against the U.S. team's staff that cut him last summer.

Said Suns Coach Mike D'Antoni, another U.S. assistant who saw Arenas get 54 in the Wizards' win in Phoenix, noting Mike Krzyzewski was the U.S. coach: "He's gonna kill Duke."

However, D'Antoni's team, bristling at the Wizards' boasting that they're "the Suns of the East," bombed them on their home court, 127-105.

Arenas beat out Vince Carter in All-Star voting to earn his first start. "It's an unbelievable feeling," Arenas said. "Two years ago I was voting for myself in the game."

No one knows how long Gilbert can keep this up, but while it lasts, the league is grateful.

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Latest victim

Remember the Kevin Garnett watch? It's back.

The Timberwolves fired Coach Dwane Casey for the same reason they do everything: They're running out of time to show Garnett there's a reason to stay.

Insiders began saying Casey was on his way out when the Timberwolves missed out on

Allen Iverson, which left Garnett crestfallen.

They then went on a 10-3 run that could have gotten Casey coach-of-the-year votes. Instead, the St. Paul Pioneer Press ran another item saying he was in trouble.

Bob Knight, who coached Randy Wittman, compared him to another former player, Krzyzewski. Of course, Krzyzewski rarely starts fewer than three McDonald's All-Americans and would be up against it with this roster too.

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Here he comes after all?

Greg Oden's high school coach, Jack Keefer, once said, "I wouldn't be completely surprised to see him stay at Ohio State for three years or even four years."

However, Keefer recently told the Indianapolis Star that Oden's wrist injury "chased away any doubt" he'll come out.

"That injury definitely scared him," Keefer said. "The risks are just too high."

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East is east

Trying to show he does have a front office, Charlotte owner Bob Johnson said Michael Jordan "has total responsibility for basketball operations ... and has inserted himself into that part of the basketball where he feels it is necessary." That must not include public relations: Jordan has talked to the Charlotte press twice in seven months.... Detroit scouting director George David on 19-year-old Amir Johnson of Westchester High, now tearing up the D-League: "Amir might be the only untouchable in the league who's on the inactive roster."

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And West is west

San Antonio Coach Gregg Popovich, noting his team's struggles: "That's not a good thing, because I think the West is probably tougher than it's ever been, but it also doesn't mean that the sky is falling." It has sagged a little, though.... Dallas owner Mark Cuban after Shaquille O'Neal sat out their Finals rematch: "You expect him to chicken out. Shaq Albert needs his rest, and he needs to do what he needs to do." ... As a longtime Donald T. Sterling fan, it sent a thrill up my spine when he told his basketball people he didn't want Corey Maggette traded because Maggette wants to stay. Believe this: Maggette wants out.

Famous last words

Boston's Al Jefferson, insisting the Celtics aren't losing on purpose, even if they've lost 17 of 19: "We don't want Greg Oden, We don't need a big man."

-- Mark Heisler

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