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Coast To Coast

November 30, 2008|Mark Heisler

By the way, he's worth it

At last week's game in New York, the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Brian Windhorst heard a Knicks fan yell at LeBron James, "Are you worth the wait or not? We just junked this season and next!"

If he isn't, no one is.

Aside from his usual lofty numbers, James started the weekend at career highs in shooting (48.7%) and free-throw percentage (78.6%). Once a toreador, he's continuing to defend at the level he went to on the Olympic team.

"Ain't nobody guarding him one-on-one," said New Jersey Coach Lawrence Frank. "It's just a team effort.

"You have your rules for him at different parts of the game, [but] he won't comply. The guy violates every rule. . . . Plus the thing he's doing now, he's defending."

One Knick they won't forget

Here's how big James' visit to New York was: It knocked Stephon Marbury off the back pages of the tabloids . . . for a couple of days, anyway.

Granted martyr status by the New York Post in return for exclusives, Marbury fell from grace -- again -- refusing to play, for which he was suspended.

Announced Marbury to the Post, "The marriage is over."

There's a shocker. At odds with teammates and then-coach Isiah Thomas, Marbury played 24 games last season.

Still, it'll be sad to see him leave. For the Post, anyway.

Turn in your turkeys, Eddie

Coach Eddie Jordan, who took the talented, young Wizards to the playoffs the last four seasons, was fired 11 games into this one, 10 of those being losses.

"You say Washington Wizards and I want there to be a signature thought in your mind about what this team does," announced interim Coach Ed Tapscott. "I want that signature to be, we play hard every night and we execute. We grind you up by executing."

That would be nice. To date, they have ground up their coaching staff, instead.

Unfortunately, Jordan got the word outside the arena at 7:30 a.m. as he and his wife handed out turkeys as part of a Wizards outreach program.

All their rowdy friends settle down

The new Oklahoma City Thunder was counting on exuberant sellout crowds, like those the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets drew for two seasons.

Of course, the Hornets went 48-34 in the Ford Center. After 10 games there, the Thunder is 1-9 with four sellouts.

One of the sellouts was for the Hornets, who beat the Thunder, 105-80.

"If I could put it on a billboard or something I'd probably put, 'Thank you, OKC,' " Chris Paul said. "We're extremely grateful. We'll never forget."

Neither will OKC.

Deja Diesel

See if this sounds familiar: Before playing his former team, Shaquille O'Neal said that despite lingering bad feelings, "It ended the way I wanted it to."

Then he said he had no bad feelings.

He also suggested he was upset at his old wingman, saying they hadn't been in touch.

Then they hugged before the game.

Instead of the Lakers, this was the Miami Heat and Dwyane Wade, who played O'Neal's Suns last week in Phoenix.

Also, as the Lakers had, the Heat then routed the Suns.

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