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MORNING BRIEFING

Dwight Howard get on same page with Shaq

Orlando center criticizes coach after collapse against Celtics.

May 14, 2009|Mark Medina

Maybe Shaquille O'Neal will finally start embracing Magic center Dwight Howard knowing they've both criticized Stan Van Gundy.

After Orlando blew a 10-point lead late in its Game 5 loss to Boston, Howard questioned Van Gundy's coaching. "Our coach has to recognize when he has a certain group out there and getting the job done, we have to leave those guys on the floor," Howard said. "We are going to make mistakes, but I think you have to go with what works."

O'Neal called Van Gundy a "master of panic" after his former Miami Heat coach accused him of flopping during a game this season. "When it gets time to go into the postseason and do certain things, he will let them down because of his panic," O'Neal said.

Trivia time

Who was the first African American jockey to win the Preakness?

No welcome mat

Unless Tennessee football Coach Lane Kiffin apologizes in a public forum to Pahokee (Fla.) High for insulting the school three months ago in comments to boosters, Pahokee Principal Ariel Alejo won't allow any Volunteers coach at his school.

Tennessee assistant coach Eddie Gran found that out the hard way last week when he arrived at Pahokee's campus to offer Antonio Ford a scholarship but was told to leave.

After the Tennessee coaching staff helped swing star receiver Nu'Keese Richardson from Florida to the Volunteers, Kiffin accused Gators Coach Urban Meyer of cheating and said he could not trust Pahokee High officials with Richardson's paperwork. "Someone at the school was going to screw it up," Kiffin said in February.

Kiffin's apology to Blue Devils Coach Blaze Thompson won't be enough. "He needs to come face the people," Alejo told the Palm Beach Post.

Streaking 101

Craig Coakley of Queens, N.Y., went streaking Tuesday at the Mets' Citi Field wearing a stuffed animal wrapped around like a thong. As the New York Daily News put it, the attire covered "the middle of his strike zone."

Trivia answer

George "Spider" Anderson in 1889.

And finally

After Mavericks owner Mark Cuban's verbal blast at Lydia Moore, mother of Denver Nugget Kenyon Martin, Fox Sports' Jason Whitlock wrote: "Right or wrong, disrespecting a black man's mama publicly has always been a drop-the-gloves moment. When a billionaire white man does it, it becomes a ride-or-die episode for the entire neighborhood."

--

mark.medina@latimes.com

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