Facebook Twitter

STERN SAYS OK FOR MILLER TO ATTEND FRIDAY’S GAME

SHARE STERN SAYS OK FOR MILLER TO ATTEND FRIDAY’S GAME

NBA Commissioner David Stern told the press Wednesday night at The Summit that the two-game "suspension" of Jazz owner Larry H. Miller was enough, and that Miller can return to his customary courside seats anytime he likes.

"He agreed not to attend two games. That's been observed," said Stern. "And now he's free to attend any games he'd like to attend."Stern said Miller was originally asked to stay away from two games, but Miller interpreted that as staying away from two home games. Miller has already missed one home game and three road games since the incident nine days ago in which he scuffled with a Denver fan.

"I think Larry thought the penalty was more severe than it was," said Stern.

* * *

With the Minnesota Timberwolves' move to New Orleans, plans are already afoot to give the team a nickname. Reports are saying the new management has contacted the Jazz about getting their old nickname back.

"Maybe we should try to get (the Jazz) to take the Lakers name," said Stern.

But Stern said with the move, picking a nickname for the new team isn't his big priority. "Whatever makes them happy," he said. "I'm not even going to speculate ... but that's a good one."

* * *

Despite the Jazz's vast improvement between games, they weren't taking any solace in losing Game 2.

"The bottom line is we didn't win," said forward Karl Malone. "I don't really like moral victories."

Which coincided nicely with coach Jerry Sloan's thoughts. "I'm going to expect our guys to play as hard as they can," Sloan said. "We have to play for a full 48 minutes. I thought we had a good effort. They just had a better effort."

* * *

Even with winning the MVP award this year, Hakeem Olajuwon isn't likely to ask for a contract renegotiation. Olajuwon is reportedly happy with the $3 million he made this season and the $4 million he'll make this year.

That may not be the case with Utah's Karl Malone. The Jazz superstar, who finished tied for seventh in the MVP balloting, asked for a contract renegotiation last fall before training camp. Though an agreement was worked out between owner Larry H. Miller and Malone, it was voided by the NBA on a technicality.

Malone has said after the season is over and the new player agreement is hammered out, he will bring the matter up with Miller again.

* * *

After being named the league's MVP on Tuesday, Olajuwon said he began to gain confidence when he played as a collegian against Moses Malone - then the NBA's Most Valuable Player.

Those were days of discovery for Olajuwon, as well as his peers.

"He came back the second summer, playing on a team of UH guys that Clyde Drexler had organized," said former Rockets teammate Robert Reid to the Houston Chronicle. "Somebody took a shot and Hakeem and Moses Malone went for the rebound. Hakeem grabbed the ball, took one bounce on the floor, cleared Moses out of the way with one arm and slammed it.

"The whole place got quiet. We all looked at one another. In just one year, he had improved to the point where he could take it right to the guy who was the MVP of the league at that time. It was right then, on that play, that we all thought, 'Whoa! What have we got here?' "

* * *

Winning an NBA championship is a long road, but not one the Rockets can't relate to. They began the regular season winning 15 straight games - exactly the number of playoff games a team needs to win in order to claim the NBA title.

ADDENDUM: Going into Wednesday's game, the Jazz had never won a conference Final game on the road (0-4)...The Jazz have the second-longest running streak of consecutive playoff appearances . Portland has made the playoffs 12 years in a row...Jazz coach Jerry Sloan is the fourth-winningest coach among active NBA coaches and in the last six years has the best regular-season record in the league...Stern on fighting in the NBA: "I'm concerned. We have some post and some preseason homework to do...Olajuwon on his 41-point night: "They made me work extra hard," he said. "There were no easy points. I'mso tired."