FOR THE WEEK OF JANUARY 13-19
"He did? How?"—Phoenix coach Danny Ainge, when told that Suns point guard Steve Nash (4.5 points, 2.9 assists per game) had received an invitation to play in the rookie game during All-Star weekend.
The one-game suspension Portland gave forward Cliff Robinson for cursing at coach P.J. Carlesimo lit a fire under the temperamental Trail Blazers. They hammered Detroit at home on Jan. 14 despite Robinson's absence, then beat the Lakers in LA. two nights later. After a home loss to Toronto, they downed Utah in Portland on Sunday.
Despite a 16-game home winning streak, the longest such run in 1996-97, Atlanta has sold out only six times at The Omni. The Hawks are averaging just 12,576 fans, third fewest in the league (behind the Clippers and the Nuggets).
Can the Lakers continue their recent mastery of the Sonics? Entering Sunday's showdown in Seattle, LA. has won seven of the teams' last 10 games. For the Sonics to prevail, center Jim McIlvaine must slow down Shaquille O'Neal, who had 32 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists in the Lakers' 110-106 win on Dec. 3.