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Did that chain letter bring good luck to its recipients? Not in every case. For example, Jerry Reynolds got a copy of the letter and dutifully passed it along, but he is still director of player personnel for the lowly Kings, who last Thursday evening lost a game at Charlotte by the improbable score of 101-59.
How is it possible to score so few points, particularly against one of the NBA's softer defensive teams?
"I didn't think it was," said Reynolds. "I figured you could run downcourt every time and shoot wild hook shots from the corner and get more than 59.
"What happened, really, was that I told [Kings coach] Dick Motta to practice the four-corner offense when he got to Carolina, in honor of Dean Smith," added Reynolds. "We want to be ready when they get rid of the shot clock."
One King, reserve frontcourtman Antoine Carr, actually had a good offensive game, hitting 10 of his 21 shots for 21 points. But no one else could throw it in the ocean. The Kings' four first-round draft picks (Lionel Simmons, Travis Mays, Duane Causwell and Anthony Bonner) played like rookies, shooting a combined 7 of 34. Wayman Tisdale, the Kings' best player, left the game early in the first period with a torn tendon in his right foot. (He will be out four weeks.) Sacramento turned the ball over 22 limes. And so on. The rest is history. Well, almost. The Kings' total was the second-lowest score in the NBA since the shot clock was instituted in 1954.
After the game a frustrated Motta told his players that he was considering resigning. He later backed off, and on Saturday night the Kings played well, beating Seattle at home 101-85.
"This is one of those things that we'll look back on 10 years from now and have a good laugh about," said Reynolds. He sighed and added, "And I do think it'll take the full 10."
BIRD IS BRACED
During the Celtics' practice at Hellenic College on Dec. 22, Larry Bird bent to pick up a ball and fell to the floor in pain. He hauled himself to his feet after a few minutes, but his teammates had gotten a vivid reminder that Bird walks a daily tightrope with his aching back.