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24 — second clock

Quick takes from the NBA

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24 - second clock

Latest Mavericks' idiocy: With 3.3 seconds in a blowout of Cavs, Daddy's little coach Donnie Nelson gave players the go-ahead to run play because fans wanted the team to reach 100 points so they could score free chalupas. A hard foul and a fracas ensued, and Dallas owner Mark Cuban joined the fray. "It was instinct," Cuban said. "That's from being a bouncer in a bar."

Cavs felt — correctly — that the Mavs were rubbing their noses in it by not letting the clock run out. Nelson lamely said he was trying to get his subs — including Mark Bryant, who has played in this league 13 years — some game experience.

Point-guard hungry Knicks G.M. Scott Layden reportedly has been talking to the Grizzlies about Mike Bibby and to Golden State about Mookie Blaylock.

Just when we're about to believe commissioner David Stern's fervent assertions that there's nothing wrong with his league, TV ratings for the All-Star extravaganza fall 26 percent IN ONE YEAR! It was the lowest rating in league history.

Those foes of free speech in the NBA office have struck again, fining Vancouver G.M. Dick Versace for predicting that the Raptors will follow the Grizzlies out of Canada.

Speaking of censorship, Sonics coach Nate McMillan said in an ESPN interview during All-Star weekend that one-year contracts for players would help curb off-court problems, and that coaches need more control over players' self-absorbed attitudes. In a subsequent interview, Stern said those ideas were "silly" and suggested that if McMillan wanted change he should "go coach in another league." Stern later apologized.

Pistons coach George Irvine bristled when asked about his job security as his team struggles. "That's a dumb question," Irvine said. "Now why would you ask something like that? You don't have to ask that. You made a choice to ask that. It's like you want to start people talking about whether or not my job should be safe."

Give Jason Kidd credit for not trying to hide from the media in the wake of a recent domestic-assault incident. "There's too many of you guys; you've got to answer questions at some point," Kidd said. "There's no way you can hide . . . I made a mistake. Life goes on. I'm not going to let you guys ruin my life or take my reputation away, because I know who I am, and that's all that matters."

The same day the Bergen (N.J.) record ran a story on Nets Keith Van Horn under the headline, "Meet Nets' Mr. Softie," Van Horn was quoted saying the team probably will make some moves. "If the team does not show significant improvement, they're going to have to make some changes," the ex-Ute said. "They're not going to sit with this team."

Grizz forward Grant Long wasn't impressed with the list of cities interested in hosting the team. "They're all recycled cities," he said, laughing. "They've all had teams before and lost them. If one of them gets a team again, well, Vancouver shouldn't worry. Another NBA team will be around in a few years."

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Miami was interested in trading Alonzo Mourning for Elton Brand. Heat coach Pat Riley called the report "Absolutely untrue. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever would I trade Alonzo Mourning. The day that happens, somebody else will have to do it. He's the franchise."

Celtic legend Bob Cousy said he couldn't have played point guard for ex-Boston coach Rick Pitino. "I couldn't have played for someone who orchestrated my moves from the bench," said Cousy. "Even I didn't know what I was going to do. Every trip down the floor, the defender was going to determine what I did. A coach holding up numbers would have confused the hell out of me."

Ex-Sun Corie Blount, now with Golden State, says he's happy to have escaped the tyrannical rule of Phoenix coach Scott Skiles. "I'm glad I'm out of there, to be honest," Blount said. "There's a lot less stress. I don't think guys over there (in the Phoenix locker room) have a good feeling about being there anymore. It takes a toll."

Red Auerbach is upset there were no Celtics on the All-Star team. "They should have picked (Antoine) Walker. Let me ask you this: Would you trade Antonio Davis for Walker? It's just plain dumb. Picking (Latrell) Sprewell over (Paul) Pierce was bad enough. But this was worse, and I will tell (Stern) that."

Warriors coach Dave Cowens, a seven-time All-Star player, says the event is a farce. "I think the rookie game was a travesty to the game of basketball," he said. "I thought the dunk contest was an embarrassment. Well, not an embarrassment, but it wasn't interesting at all."

Rockets forward Maurice Taylor speaks highly of fellow Michigan alum Juwan Howard. "He was my host on my (recruiting) visit," Taylor said. "He took me out and got me drunk. He convinced me. That's my man." (Gee, how heartwarming.)

Kings Chris Webber said the refs blew it by not calling a foul on the play where he sprained his ankle against the Jazz. "That's really a dangerous play when you undercut a player," Webber said. "Whether that's in the playground, the park, the league or wherever, that's dangerous." (He neglected to mention he was undercut by a player he had bulled to the floor.)

— Complied by Rich Evans from Internet and wire service reports.