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The Philadelphia Inquirer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania • Page 71

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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The Philadelphia Inquirer G7 PRO FOOTBALL Sunday, June 7, 1992 Sacramento wins struggling WLAF's title game, 21-17 The unlikely hero was David Archer, a veteran quarterback. His rights are owned by the Eagles. goal before halftime. Then Archer engineered an 85-yard touchdown march, concluding it with a pass for a two-point conversion and moving his team to within three points of Orlando. Thunder quarterback Scott Mitchell handed the Surge another opportunity, fumbling the ball away on his own 28-yard line.

But Archer could move the ball only 8 yards, and kicker Cary Blanchard missed a 30-yard field goal. Sacramento got one more chance. Linebacker Michael Jones picked off a Mitchell pass in Thunder territory, and on the first play from scrimmage, running back Mike Prin-gle caught a short pass and sprinted 31 yards, to the 3-yard line. Suspense mounted as Sacramento twice failed Archer's excellence in the World League this season he was the most valuable offensive player in the league has the Eagles reconsidering whether to re-sign Jim McMa-hon, the veteran quarterback. Archer, who was passed over by coach Rich Kotite in a one-day tryout last season that ended with the ill-fated selection of Pat Ryan, may end up battling Jeff Kemp for the Eagles' primary backup slot this year.

Orlando jumped out to what looked to be a commanding 17-3 lead in the second quarter, taking advantage of several Sacramento miscues, including a fumbled punt and an interception that gave the Thunder the ball on the Surge's 9-yard line. But Archer fought back with a 35-yard pass to Eddie Brown to set up a field owners, a fraying thread. Declining TV viewership on cable television and sagging franchises, even in Orlando, continue to plague the league, which is supposed to provide both a developmental league for NFL teams and an experimental expansion into world markets. It has not been an unqualified success in either category. Attendance in European markets London, Barcelona and Frankfurt fell Off this year after an enthusiastic inaugural season.

Lamar Hunt, chairman of the World League's board, was clearly disappointed in the turnout at Olympic Stadium 42,789, about 20 percent shy of a full house. to poke into the end zone, but Archer found Eddie Brown for the winning touchdown. The game had all the slick packaging of the Super Bowl the nifty graphics, the media handouts and lapel pins, and enough ceremony to coronate the king of a midsize nation. There was no disguising those hectares of empty seats inside Olympic Stadium, however, or the disappointment of the scalpers waiting outside the Pie IX Metro stop a little more than an hour before game time. They were selling their tickets for less than half the box-office rate.

This was the second championship game in the history of the fledgling World League, which depends for its survival on the patience of its NFL Olympic Stadium's dome. The game's unlikely hero was David Archer, a 30-year-old veteran NFL backup quarterback who has bounced from training camp to try-outs for five seasons, and whose rights are currently owned by the Eagles. Archer, who was voted the game's most valuable player, scrambled, passed and even brawled his way back from a costly interception and fumble to pass for nearly 300 yards. He also ran for about 50 more, and completed two fourth-quarter touchdown passes and a clutch pass for a two-point conversion. By Mark Bowden INQUIRER STAFF WRITER MONTREAL A good football "game is a good football game, no matter at what level it's played.

Last night the Sacramento Surge defeated the Orlando Thunder, 21-17, for the championship of the NFL's struggling sophomore World League. They played before an embarrassingly thin, largely disinterested out-of-town audience, and around a bloated, overproduced halftime show, but managed to deliver an exciting football game, anyway. It was primarily an aerial display under the orange clay-colored tarp of PRO BASKETBALL Bill Lyon Blazers' home is oh so sweet Veteran believes Moe will be able to revive Sixers mmmmmmgr xwmmj MJ Associated Press JOHN SWART Michael Jordan scored 39 points again, but missed a short jumper at the end of Game 2 that would have won it for Chicago. Now the Bulls must play three straight in Portland. Bulls failed to perform the way super teams do A real championship club would have put Portland away LYON from G1 but susceptible to lapses of concentration, but at home they have sold out for 15 years running, for almost 700 games in a row.

There being no other major-league franchise to compete, Blazers season tickets are routinely bequeathed in wills and are the objects of bitter custody scuffling during divorces. It is to this raucous sanctuary, where they are a pristine 8-0 in this postseason, that the Trail Blazers now retreat for Game 3 of the NBA Finals today. They glided home giddy after having achieved one of the more remarkable boomerangs in playoff history. In the space of just 48 hours, they transformed themselves from 33-point losers to winners. And now they face the delicious prospect of not having to venture back out on the road if they can just hold serve.

Home is their best hope. I As it is for every team in the league. For in no other professional sport does the home advantage mean as much as it does in the NBA. No team in the league finished the regular season with a better record on the road than at home. In fact, only six of the 27 had a winning record on the road.

In the playoffs, that discrepancy has escalated, as it always does. In this postseason, the home team has won 60, lost only 19. The reason has to do with having a crowd of shrieking zealots urging you on or trying to wish you comatose. "Yes, we're human, too," agrees Chicago's Michael Jordan, though there is ample reason to suspect that he is not. "We hear the cheers.

And we hear the boos. There aren't many players like Charles IBarkley who can feed off a hostile crowd." Very few play the same in a foreign arena as they do in their own. Someone else hears the crowd, too, 1 and is affected. The officials. They insist otherwise, of course.

Consciously, they probably are immune. And, just as there are players like Barkley who live to defy an opposing crowd, there are zebras who seem almost to purposely favor the visiting team with their calls, as though puffing out a defiant chest and saying: "You can't intimidate me." But the fact remains, far more of-' ten than not the home team shoots more free throws, is whistled for fewer fouls, than the visiting team. And one way or another that is traceable to the crowd. So then, best to make sure it's your crowd as often as possible. "You play as hard as you can for six months so that for two months you'll have the home court," Jordan said.

That is, really, about the only justi-' fication for playing all-out during an otherwise insane 82-game season the purchasing of an insurance policy, the one that says that in any seven-game series, four will be on your The team with the home-court advantage has won each of the last six NBA Finals. And 33 of 45 overall. Over the last three years, the Bulls are 108-16 in Chicago Stadium, a musty, cavernous asylum of bedlam. In that same span, in their cozy little pit nestled among the pines, the Blazers are 104-19. Both are building new arenas.

They will be fashioned of concrete and steel and glass, they will have the standard 94 feet of hardwood, two baskets, each 10 feet off the ground. But more than anything else, they will have noise. Noise to cow, noise to spur on. Noise to inspire, noise to intimidate. Enough noise to make you never want to leave home again.

Wayne Cooper once flourished under the coach's passing offense in Denver. He thinks Moe can do it again. By Bob Ford INQUIRER STAFF WRITER Wayne Cooper had already put in six seasons in the NBA when the Denver Nuggets traded for him in 1984 and there was some question about how Cooper would adapt to Doug Moe's passing offense. Cooper wasn't known as the best passer around. "Wayne Cooper?" Jim Lynam asked Moe after the trade had been made.

"Doug, he has trouble passing it to his mother." When the Nuggets went to training camp that fall, Moe took Cooper aside. "Wayne, we play a passing offense," Moe said. "That means that when you get the ball pass it to someone who has the same color shirt you have on. If you can't find anyone, wait for the 24-second clock to go off and then pass it to the referee." That was the sum total of Moe's pre-camp instruction. And it worked.

"That's why I love Doug Moe," Lynam says now. "Some other coach would have given Cooper 15 rules for passing the basketball." Cooper is still in the league, sitting on the deep bench for the Trail Blazers in the NBA Finals. This is his 14th season in the league. He's seen a lot of coaches, but none like Moe. And he has no doubt that Moe will be successful as he takes over the 76ers next season.

"He's just not a traditional type of coach," Cooper said. "At training camp, he just rolls the ball out and says, "But the guy is a master of the passing game. I don't think any other coach can do it like he can. And I doubt if Doug could really sit down and draw it up. It's something that just happens.

He's a guy who's very big on chemistry." Chemistry on the roster is something that some people think will be a problem for the Sixers, who didn't exactly major in chemistry last season. How, for instance, can Manute Bol who cannot catch or pass play in a passing offense that demands the ball move around quickly and crisply? "People said the same things about me," said Cooper. "The center really has to just make one entry pass. He's a trailer. If Manute's there, Doug will try it.

He'll try anything. "But Doug is a very demanding coach. One thing that makes him crazy is if guys come to camp out of shape. People mistake him for being not very serious because he's a funny guy, but he's very serious about coaching." The passing game might not take hold right away. It will take tinkering and resolve, but, according to Cooper, it will work.

"There were times when we struggled," he said. "Most coaches aren't successful with it, because they're not patient enough to stay with it. Doug has a great instinct for the game and what will work. And once you get into it, there's a certain amount of structure. You know where to go.

It's not like you can diagram it or anything, but you get the feel for it from being around your teammates. "I know this much: It will be inter- tbllllg 1U MllldUCipuid. That much we already knew. He ain't heavy, he's my client. As has been the case for some time, agent Fred Slaughter is angry about the treatment his client, John "Hot Plate" Williams has received from the Washington Bullets.

Williams, you might remember, used to play basketball in the But that was before he ballooned to' more than 300 pounds while not rehabilitating a surgically repaired left knee. The Bullets suspended Williams when he weighed in at 305 pounds last fall, saying they would not take responsibility for his salary until he got into shape. Right now, Williams is enrolled in a California weight-loss facility. "Don't call it a fat farm," said Slaughter. "That would understate the prob- Doug Moe is "a guy who's very big on chemistry," says Portland backup center Wayne Cooper.

lem. He's doing more than that. It's not enough to say that he's just in Jenny Craig. They don't treat.fhey give you some food and some tapes to listen to. John's weight dilemma is more than just being fat." Apparently, the dilemma is.

about being really fat. According a former teammate who saw Williams play in a recent Los Angeles pickup game, Williams has crested 325 pounds. The Bullets refuse to; reinstate Williams until he gets down to 260 pounds, which is the point where doctors say his knee can withstand the pounding. Slaughter says the Bullets have been insensitive to Williams' problem. "If John had a cocaine problem, he would have gotten better treatment from the Bullets, and the league," Slaughter said.

"He's got a physical problem." Williams has had all manner of problems since the December .1989 knee injury. Right now, the biggest one is his weight. "There is no resolution," general manager John Nash said. "There's no way we can resolve it. We've, got a two-year contract for him.

This is America. I cannot force a man to work who chooses not to, despite the attractiveness of the salary IS1.2 million. If I were in his shoes I'd be getting ready." Bullets owner Abe Pollin called Williams in Los Angeles recently, trying to smooth out the differences between player and team, but there's no indication that the thin Washington frontcourt should expect "any help from the thick John Williams. And another thing, kid. Mike Gminski played sparingly last season for the Charlotte Hornets because of a back condition.

He'll be old when next season begins. But Gminski might have a ready-made role with the Hornets asShey bring in new center Alonzo Mourning with the second pick of the draft. Call it the Elder Statesman segment of Gminski's career. "The hardest thing for a rdokle is not having someone at his position to learn from," said Gminski. "Fof me that player was Maurice Lucas.

I want to work with IMourningl after practice a half hour every day." Gminski has two years left on a lucrative contract signed when he was a 76er and assumed by Charlotte in a January 1991 trade that Sent Armon Gilliam and Dave Hoppen to Philadelphia. He's still got some ball to play, but he's also got tricks and traditions to pass on to Mourning. "I iVn HrvoinriTrc ft litlln nrvtoKnnlr on every player he faces," Gminski said. "What he likes to do offensively, when he shoots. What he likes to do on defense.

Is he better in the first quarter or the fourth? This is all a game of percentages. Knowing a little something about guys like (Pat-rick Ewing and IDavidl Robinson makes a difference." The Hornets hope Gminski gets to begin to impart his wisdom in training camp or before. But recent sign-ings of high-draft picks point to Mourning missing camp before finally coming to terms. NBA point spreads Las Vegas line By Keith Glanti and Russell Culver. Favorite Underdog PORTLAND 3'i Chicago Hom team CAPITALS.

By Bob Ford INQUIRER STAFF WRITER PORTLAND, Ore. Super teams do not do these things. Teams for the ages do not take champion-'ship games and 10-point leads for granted. They do something else. They keep running right up your chest and into the sky again, as the Los Angeles Lakers used to do.

They put their shoulders into your back and push you away from the basket, as the Detroit Pistons used to do. Those teams worried that success was a fickle lovtr, one that would jump to the far side of the street if given the opportunity. They took no chances and burdened every opponent with their ardor for winning. No, great teams do not lose games like the one lost Friday night in Chicago Stadium by the Chicago Bulls. Before the NBA Finals are finished, the Bulls may yet become the team they expected to be.

The heat and pressure of the coming games might mold them into a hardened unit that plays its best in the biggest games of all, as did the Lakers and the Pistons in the two-championship eras that preceded the Bulls' rise to power. If Michael Jordan and his cast are to be remembered along with those teams, a repeat of Friday's 115-104 overtime loss is not recommended. The Bulls came back from nine points down in the third period to lead, 92-82, with less than five minutes to play. They harassed Portland star Clyde Drexler into fouling out. And they thought that was enough for the evening.

It was not. The Trail Blazers used coldblooded shooting from unshakeable Terry Porter to narrow the score. They revived Danny Ainge for late-shooting heroics, and the game went into overtime when Jordan and tubby Kevin Duckworth went into a basket-trading exchange, with Duckworth tnnVino- the last one. In the overtime, Chicago was as awful as Portland was awesome. Ainge scored nine of his 19 points in the overtime as he filled in for Drexler and made Jordan pay for his gambling defense.

The Bulls withered away without a trace. Scottie Pippen had another disappearing game, scoring just four of his 16 points after the end of the third period. "We're pretty much in shock," Pippen said. "We were right there with an opportunity to win, and we basically just handed it right back to them and said, 'Here, let's tie the series up." They did that, and more. A 2-0 series lead heading into Portland for three games would have nearly assured the Bulls of a repeat title.

They would have needed to win just one of the three to come back home in strong command. -If sufficiently demoralized and, boy, would they have been the Blazers might not have even forced the series to return. Now, however, the Blazers have psychological and physical control. The referees allowed them to play their rougher game, a trend sure to continue tonight (Channel 3, 7 p.m.) at Memorial Coliseum. "Obviously, it was a tough situation," Portland coach Rick Adelman said.

"But we talked about it. We said the game was not over." Against the Lakers of 1988 or the Pistons of 1990, however, it would have been. The door would have been shut, bolted and perhaps welded shut. The expectation was that Portland, a team reputed to have little heart and small capacity for brilliance under pressure, could not win this type of game. And the expectation was that Chicago could not lose it.

"I can't control that perception," Adelman said. "Every team has problems at some time in the season. I would never say anything about another team. And I would never doubt my team." His team was doubted loudly by the Bulls after Chicago beat it by 20 points in the regular season. The Blazers remembered.

Then, after they lost the first game of the Finals, 122-89, there was talk of a mismatch. They waited. "We can stand to have Jordan score 39 points if we just play a better game," Adelman said after the opener. He was proved exactly correct. The Blazers cut down on their turnovers, stayed out of foul trouble and limited the Bulls' rebounds as a result, and they hung together when Drexler fouled out.

"We know we won a game we probably should have lost," Ainge said. "But they got a little conservative, and we kept them from the basket." Jordan once again scored 39 points, but he needed 32 shots from the field to put up that gaudy number. His teammates deserted him when he needed them most. And the patina of invincibility that covered Jordan after the opener was washed away when he pulled up in the final seconds of regulation only to miss a short jumper that would have given the Bulls the win. "We just didn't play with the same intensity in those last 416 minutes," Jordan said.

"They're very aggressive, they never give up, and I think we took that for granted." In those final minutes, the Bulls may have painfully reacquired the respect they had lost for Portland. But they also took themselves for granted, expecting their talent simply to carry the day as it had so many times before. That's not the way the game works. "We've always been a good finishing team," Jordan said. "At this point in the season, with a 10-point lead, it's very disappointing to let that slip away from us." It's surprising, too.

Great teams do not do such things. NBA playoffs NBA CHAMPIONSHIP PORTLAND VS. CHICAGO Game 1: Chicago 122, Portland 89 Gams 2: Portland 115, Chicago 104, OT Game 3: Tonight at Portland, 7 Game 4: Wednesday at Portland, 9 Game 5: Friday at Portland, 9 Game 6: 'June 14 at Chicago, 6 Game 7: 'June 17 at Chicago, 9 Series tied, 1-1. -If necessary. I.

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