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HOOP SCOOP
Marty Burns
March 24, 1997
With a 48-17 record at week's end, 2½ games better than Seattle's, Utah is poised to gain home court advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs for the first time in history. "It's our primary objective right now," says guard John Stockton. "We've never had it, and we feel it would improve our odds considerably." Because of its notoriously physical style, the Jazz needs more home cooking from the refs than any other team. That's especially true in the rough-and-tumble playoffs: Since Karl Malone joined Stockton in Utah in 1985-86, the Jazz's postseason record is 35-15 at home and 11-36 on the road....
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March 24, 1997

Hoop Scoop

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With a 48-17 record at week's end, 2½ games better than Seattle's, Utah is poised to gain home court advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs for the first time in history. "It's our primary objective right now," says guard John Stockton. "We've never had it, and we feel it would improve our odds considerably." Because of its notoriously physical style, the Jazz needs more home cooking from the refs than any other team. That's especially true in the rough-and-tumble playoffs: Since Karl Malone joined Stockton in Utah in 1985-86, the Jazz's postseason record is 35-15 at home and 11-36 on the road....

Hearing that cross-dressing teammate Dennis Rodman was going to moonlight as a pro wrestler, Bulls forward Dickey Simpkins asked, "What's he going to be called? Victoria Secret?"

...One key to the stellar play of Hornets center Vlade Divac (12.9 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game through Sunday): He gave up his habit of 10 to 15 cigarettes a day....

After being traded twice in three days last month—from the Mavericks to the Nets to the Lakers—swingman George McCloud made only nine field goals in his first nine games with L.A. Twice this season with Dallas he made nine field goals in one game....

"The pick-and-roll has been killing us," says Kings guard Mitch Richmond. "We haven't stopped it since Spud [Webb] and Randy [Brown] were here." Brown and Webb left Sacramento after the 1994-95 season....

After wearing a pair of Air Jordan sneakers in an 85-78 win over the Pacers on March 5, Cavaliers guard Terrell Brandon said he still didn't feel like Mike. "I didn't shoot enough," said Brandon, who scored 17 points....

Rule 5, Section VII of the NBA rule book says that a team must be "in control" of the ball to call a timeout. But night after night, players are calling time to save possession while flying out of bounds. Isn't it time to embrace the spirit of the rule and require a player to have two feet on the floor in order to be awarded a timeout?

...Ejected last week for arguing a charging call against the Clippers, Golden State forward Chris Mullin delayed the game for a couple of minutes by walking off with the ball in his arms. The Warriors had to send a ball boy into the locker room to get it back....

Phoenix coach Danny Ainge is calling Horacio Llamas, a rookie forward from Mexico, Baño—the Spanish word for bathroom—for all the time Llamas spends in the John. Says Suns guard Kevin Johnson, "Most of my teammates aren't bilingual, so I tell them it means Great Warrior."

...With apologies to President Clinton, the biggest pratfall in Florida last week belonged to Heat forward Jamal Mashburn, who missed all 10 of his shots in an 82-76 loss to Charlotte....

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