The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 19, 1997 · Page 17
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 17

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Monday, May 19, 1997
Page 17
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THE SAUNA JOURNAL SPORTS MONDAY, MAY 19, 1997 B5 PRO BASKETBALL Spurs win Duncan lottery San Antonio expected to pick Wake Forest's standout frontliner By TOM CANAVAN The Associated Press SECAUCUS, N.J. — The worst season in San Antonio Spurs' history had a great ending Sunday — an NBA lottery win and the prospect of a front- court next season featuring David Robinson and Wake Forest's Tim Duncan, the player expected to be the No. 1 draft choice. "This helps make up for it," Spurs chairman Peter Holt said. "We went through a lot of suffering this year. It was hard to field five players for any amount of time before some other injury happened. It was frustrating for the players, the fans and everyone in the front. "... But this is a reward for a * Draft order / Page B2 tough season." The Spurs, who posted a 20-62 record as Robinson virtually missed the whole season because of injuries, came into the lottery with the third-best chance of getting the No. 1 pick, having 157 of 1000 chances, or 21.6 percent. Not only did San Antonio win the top pick when ping pong balls with the combination 2-89-13 were drawn, but the second combination drawn — 3-5-9-13 — also belonged to the Spurs, forcing NBA officials to draw again. Philadelphia, which had the fifth-most chances in the 12- team lottery, got the No. 2 pick and Boston and new coach Rick Pitino got the third pick, despite having the most chances in the lottery, its own and those acquired from Dallas in a trade for Eric Montross. Vancouver, which was not eligible for the top pick under its expansion agreement, was the big loser. It dropped to fourth overall after none of its 250 chances were drawn. Denver slipped from fourth to fifth in the June 25 draft. After that the order stayed as statistically expected. Boston got the sixth pick based on it using the Dallas choice. New Jersey was seventh followed by Golden State, Toronto, Milwaukee, Sacramento, Indiana and Cleveland. There is little doubt Duncan, who averaged 20.8 points and a national-best 14.7 rebounds, will be the Spurs' top pick. "I think the no-brainer is Tim Duncan," Holt said. "Now someone has been asking would you trade him? I doubt it. It's our job to look at all options, but when you get No. 1 and have a Tim Duncan, it's hard to walk away from that." Rested Jazz ready for Rockets Conference finals appearance fourth in last six years for Utah By CHRIS SHERIDAN Tlie Associated Press SALT LAKE CITY — There was no hesitation and no hedging from Charles Barkley. The sweat was still dropping off his shaved head, the crowd at the Summit was still screaming and the Houston Rockets hadn't even dragged their tired bodies off the court yet after outlasting the Seattle SuperSonics in Game 7 of the second round. Looking ahead to his team's next task, the NBA's most quotable character was spewing nothing but respect. "Utah is the best team in the West," Barkley said. There you have it, the definitive lowdown from Sir Charles. He has knighted the Jazz the Lords of the West, proclaimed them the favorites. If Barkley wants to win his first championship, he'll first have to knock Karl Malone and Co. off their newfound throne. Barkley gets his chance beginning tonight as the Western Conference Finals open at the Delta Center at 7:30 p.m. Actually, Barkley's laudatory comments echoed what others have been saying all season long — especially since the All-Star break. The Jazz have indeed been the best team in the West, and maybe the best team in the league. Just look at what they've done. Utah won 64 regular-season games, the most in franchise history, and went 31-4 over the second half of the season for the best record in the league — yes, that includes Chicago — since the All-Star break. The Jazz won 19 of their final 20 games, swept the Clippers in the first round and beat the Lakers in five games in the second round. Their 7-1 playoff record is as good as that of Chicago, and they haven't lost a home game since Feb. 23. Accomplishments such as those were among the reasons why Malone beat out Michael Jordan for the MVP award. It's part of a leaguewide bestowing of respect upon a franchise that has yet to overcome its legacy of losing — a history the Houston Rockets have contributed to. This will be the fourth conference finals appearance in the past six years for Utah, which lost to Portland in 1992, to Houston in 1994 and to Seattle in 1996. This season, the Rockets were the only Western Conference team to go 2-2 against Utah, although both Houston victories came in the first eight days of the season. The Jazz has been a different team since then. The back-to- back losses to Houston dropped Utah's record to 2-2, and the Jazz went on to lose 12 of their first 35 games. But they ran away with the West after that and earned the accompanying esteem. Utah is now hoping its new persona will endure long enough to earn Malone and John Stockton, as well as coach Jerry Sloan and oft- overlooked veterans Jeff Hornacek and Antoine Carr, the first NBA Finals trip of their careers. T AUTO RACING Indy 500 expands lineup to 35 By STEVE HERMAN Hie Associated Press INDIANAPOLIS — As usual, the fastest 33 cars will start the Indianapolis 500. So will two others. Faced with a possibly embarrassing situation in which seven starters would have qualified at slower speeds than two drivers who were bumped, race officials on Sunday expanded the field to 35 cars. "That's what this race is about. That's why, I guess, as disappointed as I was about being bumped, it was not because I went too slow," said Lyn St. James, one of the two drivers restored to the lineup. The move on the final day of time trials for the May 25 race meant the largest field in 18 years and also returned a spot to Johnny Unser, who like St. James did not have a guaranteed position and also apparently had been bumped. "It's awesome," said Unser, the fifth member of his famous racing family to drive at Indianapolis. "I feel like we earned it. We did earn it," Unser said. "The Indy 500's always the Indy 500. The 33 fastest cars will always run here. Beyond that, I'm just real happy they made the decision to let the fastest 33 cars run here. "Of course, it's in my benefit. But I also think it's the fair thing to do." The 35 starters will comprise the largest lineup since 1979, when two drivers were added amid protests that some teams had cheated by using illegally altered pressure relief valves. Eleven drivers who were bumped were given a chance to get back into the lineup, but only Bill Vukovich Jr. and George Snider qualified. The addition of two cars this time came because of an IRL rule, THEATRES for MOVIE Selections and SHOWTIMES Call: 825-91O5 We've gone world wide web! MAURE WEIGEL Auto - Home Insurance Phone 827-2906 115 East Iron which will be discarded starting next year. It promised up to 25 of the usual 33 spots to the season point leaders as a way of encouraging participation in the full series. But the IRL said Friday there already were enough entrants and that it would abolish the guarantee, which was one of the reasons the rival Championship Auto Racing Teams and many of the top drivers have boycotted Indy. CART, which still would have to buy new IRL cars to return to Indianapolis next year, is staging its own race near St. Louis on Saturday, the day before the 500. Unser is the nephew of former Indy winners Bobby and Al Unser Sr. and cousin of former race winner Al Unser Jr. The seven who qualified slower than Unser and St. James had exemptions and already were in the lineup. "This is not an easy call to make," IRL executive director Leo Mehl said. "I can't tell you this was absolutely the fairest thing, but it was the best thing we knew to do. It's a difficult situation when you see the fastest 33 cars weren't going to start. That can't happen." Memorial Day Early Deadlines * Retail & Bordered Classified Ads Publication Date Neighbors, 5/26 Friday, 5/23 Saturday, 5/24 Applause! 5/28 Sunday, 5/25 Monday, 5/26 Tuesday, 5/27 Wednesday, 5/28 Deadline Tuesday, 5/20 @ 2:00 Tuesday, 5/20 @ 3:00 Wednesday, 5/21 @ 10:00 Wednesday, 5/21 ©11:00 Wednesday, 5/21 @ 1:00 Thursday, 5/22 @ 1:00 Thursday, 5/22 ® 4:00 Friday, 5/23® 1:00 Classified Line Ads (No Borders, Logos Or Artwork) Friday, 5/23 Saturday, 5/24 Sunday, 5/25 Monday, 5/26 Tuesday, 5/27 Thursday, 5/22 @ 10:00 Thursday, 5/22 @ 1:00 Friday, 5/23 @ 10:00 Friday, 5/23® 1:00 Friday, 5/23 @ 3:00 The Salina Journal business office will be closed Monday, May 26 in observance of Memorial Day. lhe Salina Journal O • P June 1, 1997 TCI of Salina Channel 60 CHANNEL JILKA Posturepedic® Box Spring and Mattress Sale Sealy Posturepedic® Marlowe Firm *449 Queen Size Set Twin, 2 PC. Set $279 Full, 2 PC. Set $379 King, 3 PC. 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