Line of the Week
Rocket swingman Mario Elie, Jan. 17 against the Nuggets: 17 MIN, 5-5 FG, 0-0 FT, 13 points, three assists. Elie, who has been invaluable to Houston this season, was in the midst of yet another relatively quiet yet effective evening when he crashed to the floor after being fouled by Jalen Rose on a fast-break dunk. Elie broke a bone in his right wrist on the play and might be out for as long as 12 weeks, a big blow to the defending champion Rockets. After the game, Houston players questioned the way Rose had bumped Elie from behind, though Rose insisted he meant no harm. In the six previous games Elie (career average: 8.5 points) had averaged 16.0 points.
Around the Rim
The Pacers have two key players, Miller and forward Antonio Davis, who will become free agents this summer; a third, Dale Davis, also a forward, intends to exercise an escape clause in his contract. Miller is Indiana's top signing priority and sources say he has been offered a five-year package that would average close to $6.5 million a season, but he has not yet accepted it. Dale Davis is in the second year of a five-year, $22.5 million deal, but his agent, Steve Kauffman, says he'll test the market anyway. The rugged Davis is not a scorer and his rebounding numbers aren't gaudy, which make him a tricky sell. "I'm not saying 29 teams understand what Dale is worth," says Kauffman. "I'm sure they don't. But it only takes one."
...Asked for a comment on former Nuggets coach Doug Moe, who will coach him in the All-Star rookie game, Denver's Antonio McDyess admitted he didn't know who Moe was and said, "Somebody told me he curses a lot." This might be of concern to the 21-year-old McDyess, who, upon learning he had been named to the rookie squad, exclaimed, "Dang!"