One dude who cannot seem to get rolling is the 7'2" Gilmore. Billed as the ABA's best center, which he was, the former Kentucky Colonel has run into problems in Chicago, where his arrival coincided with illness to veterans and rookies, team adjustments to new Coach Ed Badger and a switch to a novel style, the half break. Sometimes the Bulls rush to mid-court with the ball, then stop dead.
Gilmore has not really played badly for 2-5 Chicago, just not enough. He averages 16.4 points and 13.6 rebounds in only 33 minutes of court time. Also he has not asserted himself, especially on offense. Against Milwaukee one night he took five shots. As a team the Bulls are shooting a preposterous 38% although Gilmore is near 50%. A performance against Atlanta when a rookie named Tommy Barker got 19 rebounds and made Gilmore look terrible was especially instructive.
"This Barkley [sic] really played well," Gilmore said, missing the name. "Apparently I'm not looking for my offense."
Badger says he is trying to get the Loop's new hope to set up on the right side of the basket as often as on the left to avoid double teams, and also to throw the outlet pass quicker and to avoid dribbling the ball "down where every midget in the world can take a shot at it. When my team gets tight," Badger says, "they revert to their Neanderthal tendencies."
That sounds like the kind of description Moe has been using to define his San Antonio club in recent days. At New Orleans last Friday the Spurs seemed to jump out of their slump while taking a lead on the Jazz. But they were only setting the stage for Maravich to score five baskets in 1:44 of the third quarter. That took the fight out of the visitors, and the Pistol went on to record 20 points for the period as the Jazz won 127-119. "I don't consider San Antonio an ABA team anymore," Maravich said. "They're a division team, and they're going to be trouble before this is over."
Back home in Texas the Spur zealots already have earned a similar reputation. While ABA players may have to make adjustments on the court, NBA fellows must get used to the particularly obscene rabble-rousers who turn Hemisfair Arena into a revenge of the Alamo.
" San Antonio is shops and outdoor caf�s and artsy-craftsy deals and a canal [actually the San Antonio River] running through the city," says Boston's Dave Cowens, who had never been there before. Will he want to go back? The Celtic victory there was marked by nasty challenges being exchanged between Cowens and some end-zone fans and the husky center leading a contingent of fist-swinging Celtics into the crowd.
"Bunch of drunken Mexicans, right?" somebody asked San Antonio Trainer Bernie LaReau.
"Naw," said LaReau. "If Cowens ever goes into the Mexican seats, he'll never come back."