The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 29, 1997 · Page 14
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 14

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Tuesday, April 29, 1997
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TUESDAY, APRIL 29, 1997 SPORTS THE SALINA JOURNAL PRO BASKETBALL Knicks finish Hornets in 3 Johnson leads seven New York players in double figures By The Associated Press CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The New York Knicks are back on familiar ground. So are the Charlotte Hornets. The Knicks made more than 50 percent of their field goals for the third straight game as they completed a first-round sweep of the Hornets with a 104-95 victory Monday night. Former Hornet Larry Johnson had 22 points to lead seven players in double figures for New York, which advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals for the sixth consecutive season. The Knicks will meet either the Miami Heat or the Orlando Magic. The Heat holds a 20 lead in that series. The Knicks, who shot 56 percent, finished the series at 57 percent in recording their first series sweep since ousting the Philadelphia 76ers in three games in the opening round of the 1989 playoffs. Charlotte won a franchise- record 54 games this season but once again struggled to produce in the playoffs. The Hornets have made the postseason three times in their nine-year history but have advanced past the first round just once and have never made it past the conference semifinals. Charlotte finished its the year with five consecutive losses, the Hornets' worst skid of the season. MONDAY'S GAMES New York 104, Charlotte 95 TODAY'S GAMES Miami at Orlando, 6 p.m. Atlanta at Detroit, 7 p.m. Houston at Minnesota, 8:30 p.m. Seattle at Phoenix, 9:30 p.m. Glen Rice had 22 points for Charlotte, but just four of those came in the second half. Muggsy Bogues overcame hamstring problems to add a career-playoff high 19 points for the Hornets, who had won four in a row against the Knicks in Charlotte. Allan Houston had 20 points for the Knicks, who also got 16 apiece from John Starks and Patrick Ewing and 10 each from Charles Oakley, Chris Childs and Buck Williams. Bogues, limited to 20 minutes in Game 1 and unable to go in Game 2, played 38 minutes Monday night. He limped much of the time he was on the floor, and he went to the bench twice for massage and heat treatments. The Hornets, whose last lead was 26-25 in the first quarter, tied it twice in the fourth, the last time at 81-81 on a layup by Ricky Pierce with 9:43 remaining. Williams scored the next four points to start a 9-0 run by the Knicks. Starks finished it with a 3- pointer and layup to put New York up 90-81 at the 6:53 mark. The Associated Press Charlotte guard Ricky Pierce runs into New York's Patrick Ewing as he drives to the basket during first-quarter action Monday. Warriors fire Adelman after two seasons By The Associated Press OAKLAND, Calif. — The Golden State Warriors, who slumped to a 30-52 record this season and failed to make the playoffs for the third straight year, fired coach Rick Adelman and his assistants on Monday. The firing of Adelman, who had a 66-98 record in two seasons with the Warriors, had been expected. "I bought the team just over two years ago," Warriors owner Chris Cohan said in a telephone interview. "I asked myself, 'Are we better off today than we were two years ADELMAN ago?' And my answer was, 'No.' "I felt we had a problem and needed a change." Adelman is the third NBA coach fired since the end of the season, joining Dick Motta of Denver and Johnny Davis of Philadelphia. There were six firings during the regular season: Bernie Bickerstaff in Denver, Jim Lynam in Washington, Brian Winters in Vancouver, Garry St. Jean in Sacramento, Brian Hill in Orlando and Bob Hill in San Antonio. Cohan said the contracts of assistant coaches John Wetzel, George Irvine and Rod Higgins will not be renewed. There was no immediate decision on the fate of general manager Dave Twardzik, who hired Adelman for the Warriors' coaching job in May 1995 just nine days after getting his own position with Golden State. "I did not put any time pressure on myself as far as analyzing Dave's performance," Cohan said. "I felt our immediate need was to get the coaching situation settled." Twardzik and Adelman have shared ,much of the blame for questionable personnel moves and disappointing performances by the Warriors in the two seasons they've been with Golden State. The Warriors traded Tim Hardaway and Chris Catling to Miami for Kevin Willis and Bimbo Coles in February 1996. Hardaway and Catling both played in this year's All-Star game, while Willis is in Houston and Coles is a backup for the Warriors. Bullets couldn't stop Jordan in Superman effort Jordan's 55-point day vs. Washington may have been best yet By MIKE NADEL The Associated Press CHICAGO — Michael Jordan doesn't remember'exactly when he and Calbert Cheaney had their little chat. It might have been somewhere between Jordan's double-pump foul-line jumper over Cheaney and his off-balance, hang-in-the-air, land-out-of- bounds 10-footer from the right baseline. Or maybe the conversation took place between two other similarly impossible shots. But Jordan re- JORDAN members what was said: "He joked with me: 'Are you tired yet?' And I said, 'We haven't won the game yet, so I'm not tired.' " Superman doesn't get tired. He simply sees danger lurking and takes flight. And so, when Jordan saw that his Chicago Bulls just didn't have it Sunday against Cheaney's Washington Bullets, he took flight. Shooting from inside, outside and everywhere in between, Jordan burned the Bullets for 55 points as the defending champions won 109-104 for a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 series. He was especially incredible in the fourth quarter, scoring 20 of Chicago's 23 points. "That's my job," the Bulls' $30 million man said. "That's what I get paid the big dollars for." Ignoring his teammates, Jordan hoisted 35 shots and made 22 of them. He slashed, he dunked, he hit fadeaway jumpers while almost parallel to the court. It was merely one of the best games ever for perhaps the best man ever to play the game. Jordan, who holds NBA records for highest postseason scoring average (34.1 points) and most points in a playoff game (63 at Boston in 1986), has five of the nine 55-point- plus games in league playoff histo- ry. Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Charles Barkley and Rick Barry had one each. Including the regular season, Jordan has 15 games of 55 points or more and 37 games of at least 50. Though he told his teammates he was sorry for going 1-on-l and eschewing the Bulls' famous triangle offense, coach Phil Jackson said Monday that Jordan had no reason to apologize. "Michael played perfectly within the bounds of what the offense has to offer," Jackson said. "And that is, it creates opportunities for individuals to work at their strengths." Leadership and will to win are also Jordan's strengths. In the locker room at halftime, he "vocalized" his displeasure about the way the team was playing. Then he took over, rallying the Bulls from a seven-point third- quarter deficit and keeping them ahead in the fourth. "I may have taken it a little too far ... but I had to vent some frustration," Jordan said. "Sometimes, the best way to (lead) is by doing it on the court, not by vocalizing." Jordan shot over Cheaney, who often had a hand an inch away from the basketball. He darted around double-team attempts by Juwan Howard and Chris Webber. He scored against 7-foot-7 center Gheorghe Muresan. "Spectacular shots are shots you earn," Webber said. "Unfortunately for us, he's good enough to make those shots. He was the sole reason they won." Jordan, who matched his high point total since coming out of retirement in March 1995, was asked if he was concerned he had to carry such a heavy load for the champs to beat the Eastern Conference's eighth seed. "My job as a leader is to pick up where the team is lacking," he said. "Offensively, we were in a funk and I picked it up. " Jordan has done it enough over the years to justify the largest one- season contract in sports history. He told the Chicago Tribune on Sunday that he wants to return — presumably for similar money — but only under Jackson, who also has a one-year deal and has the right to negotiate with other teams. .:'••• T PRO GOLF T MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL Fuzzy stirs it up again with food jokes By PETE IACOBELLI The Associated Press GREENVILLE, S.C. — Fuzzy Zoeller, still trying to joke his way out of trouble over racially insensitive remarks, traded quips with a black golfer Monday about "fried chicken" and "watermelon." Playing at the Thornblade Classic, a charity pro-am and his first outing since his widely reported comments about Tiger Woods, Zoeller's exchange this time was with his friend, Victor McBryde, "Hey, Fuzzy," yelled McBryde, on the tee box two holes ahead of Zoeller, who was teeing off on the second hole. Zoeller shouted back to McBryde about getting "you some fried chicken." McBryde told Zoeller not to forget the "cornbread." And Zoeller replied, "How about some watermelon?" About 20 people were standing around Zoeller, and most of them laughed. Later Monday, Zoeller read a statement to CNN/SI about the conversation. "I've had a lot of time to think over the past several days. Race has been a serious issue in this country for years. But it still seems to me that we have to stop being so sensitive about things. I'm white, Vic ; McBryde is black, so what? I kidded him, he kidded me back. If we don't all learn to laugh at each other and ourselves, we're not ever going to get along." Just last week, Zoeller was criticized for calling Woods "that little boy" and for asking the Masters champion not to order fried chicken or collard greens for next year's champions dinner. Zoeller and McBryde, a district manager for a chain of doughnut stores out of Winston-Salem, N.C., said their exchange was meant as a joke. McBryde said he and Zoeller laughed together at a pre-tournament dinner on Sunday and just continued it on the course. Zoeller's remarks about Woods were inappropriate, McBryde said. But, he added, "Fuzzy and I can kid that way in a certain atmosphere." Deion Sanders making smashing return By JOE KAY The Associated Press CINCINNATI — Something is different about Deion Sanders. When he left baseball two years ago to devote himself to the NFL, the corner- back/center fielder was an average leadoff hitter who never figured out how to get on base enough to use his speed. Look at him now. One month into his comeback season, Sanders has remade himself. He leads the major leagues with 18 steals, leads the Cincinnati Reds in hitting at .398 and is leading those around him to conclude he has finally arrived as a baseball player. "Deion used to be an athlete playing baseball," shortstop Barry Larkin said. "Now he's matured. He knows what he can do and he's accepted it." Nobody anticipated so much so soon when Sanders decided to give baseball another try last January. The Reds needed a leadoff hitter they could afford; Sanders needed the camaraderie of the clubhouse. They struck an unusual $1.2 million deal that returned him to two-sport status with the Reds and Dallas Cowboys, then waited to see how long it would take him to overcome a year's worth of rust and an eye injury left over from the NFL playoffs. He didn't need much time. "I'm different than most guys," Sanders . said. "I expect the best, I really do. I expect the best out of myself no matter what the situation." April has been the best month of his nine-year career. He hit safely in 19 of the Reds' first 22 games and led the majors in triples (four) and multihit games (13) in addition to steals. The 18 steals are the most in April since Rickey Henderson had 20 in 1988. Sanders stole a career-high four bases in one game, tied his career high with four hits in another. There is reason to think it could develop into more than a one-month fling. Sanders has gotten away from some of the bad habits that made him an easy out all too often. When he walked away from the game two years ago, Sanders was an impatient hitter who swung at the first pitch resembling a strike. He played right into pitch- ers' hands. "He used to go up there and swing, and in three pitches, whatever was going to be done was done," manager Ray Knight said. "It didn't take him many more than three pitches to get his business done." That's changing. Sanders still doesn't walk much — only seven in 22 games — but he's going deeper in counts and waiting for pitches he can handle. The on-base percentage, never anything for Prime Time to brag about in the past, is an enviable .446. He's also going to the opposite field instead of trying to pull everything with his warning-track power. "His swing is still very aggressive and quick, but he's cut down on it a little bit so that instead of fouling balls off, he's now hitting them hard," Knight said. "He works at the plate." Sanders, who turns 30 in August, thinks it has something to do with accepting his limitations on the baseball field. "It's truly a step," he said. "I just know myself now. That's pretty much it. You learn your limitations. You learn what you can and cannot do." The Associated Press Deion Sanders is hitting .398 and leads the big leagues in steals. Kansas City Royals statistics BATTERS AVG OBA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB Roberts Vitlello King Howard Bell Davis Offerman Paquette Halter Damon Sweeney Cooper Dye Goodwin Spehr Macfarlane Totals 395 .416 351 .489 333 .500 327 .377 322 .347 310 .420 294 .368 265 .299 250 .308 243 .300 240 .296 222 .318 194 .216 143 .205 1 1 1 .200 .100 .163 274 .343 86 37 63 49 87 42 17 83 12 37 25 18 36 77 9 40 720 15 3 19 9 14 7 3 8 1 7 1 3 1 9 1 5 106 34 13 21 16 28 13 5 22 3 9 6 4 7 11 1 4 197 6 2 6 3 2 2 1 9 0 2 1 1 2 1 0 1 39 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 5 1 0 4 1 6 1 0 2 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 1 10 3 7 10 18 23 8 4 17 4 9 7 0 2 9 4 1 1 5 3 4 2 4 3 0 1 0 5 1 1 7 3 20 100 76 SO 8 13 12 12 10 6 4 14 3 11 4 5 6 14 4 SB CS 3 2 0 0 3 0 1 0 1 2 1 0 1 0 1 1 2 1 1 4 2 0 1 0 0 0 7 2 0 0 700 134 24 12 E 0 0 2 2 2 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 16 PITCHERS Pichardo Veres Rosado Belcher Appier Rusch Pittsley Walker Jacome Bevil Haney Williams Montgomery Totals 1 W L 0 0 1 0 1 0 2 3 3 0 2 1 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 1 0 1 10 11 ERA 0.00 1.93 2.59 2.63 2.95 4.29 4.91 7.94 9.45 13.50 13.50 13.50 16.62 4.32 G 10 7 5 5 5 4 2 9 7 8 1 3 5 21 GS 0 0 5 5 5 3 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 21 SV 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 IP 10.2 9.1 31.1 37.2 36.2 21.0 11.0 5.2 6.2 5.1 4.2 3.1 4.1 187.2 H R 9 9 30 35 29 26 9 3 13 8 10 7 10 198 0 3 13 14 12 14 6 5 7 9 7 5 8 103 ER 0 2 9 11 12 10 6 5 7 8 7 5 8 90 HR BB 0 5 1 1 4 10 4 11 ' 4 11 0 6 1 6 0 3 2 5 0 7 0 1 0 3 3 3 19 72 SO 5 9 18 20 32 14 4 5 3 5 3 4 5 127 La Russa-Bonds feud remains hot By The Associated Press ST. LOUIS — The war of words continues between Barry Bonds and Tony La Russa. On Sunday, the Giants star outfielder told San Francisco media of his disdain for the St. Louis Cardinals manager; saying "It's no secret, man. We don't like each other." On Monday, La Russa said playing great isn't enough for players of Bonds'ilk. "Nowadays you like to see the great talents be real well-rounded as far as how they are with fans, how they are with teammates and all that kind of stuff," La Russa said. "If you're a great talent, you've-got a responsibility to be more than just .a guy who produces numbers." Bonds and La Russa clashed last September. With a runner on first and one out in the eighth inning, Bonds hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning to break a tie and give the Giants a 4-2 victory. Afterward he wondered why La Russa wouldn't have intentionally walked him, and La Russa barked back: "Is he good enough to play left field and manage the other team? "He ain't that good. You're not talking to someone who just fell off the turnip truck." La Russa said Monday he had to pitch to Bonds in that situation. "I could have gotten fired if I'd have walked him because it would have been such bad baseball," La The Screen Factory < .\, !>• >^ft . ^^^m u A^HkM . f l ' SCREENS Russa said. "You have to respect the threat he is. You try not to throw the ball over the plate." In the first inning Monday njght, La Russa had Bonds intentionally walked with two outs and a runner on second. Bonds struck out in the third. Actually, Bonds said the two haven't gotten along since 1993,. He claimed that La Russa, then managing the Oakland Athletics, turned his back on him during the Bay Bridge series. Lifetime Free Semd Bend It Break It Bust It Even Get A Briar In It Basically You're Covered 1-800-825-9202 Across from Farmers Coop TEK 645 E. Crawford 825-7314

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