Sunday, April 6, 2003

Adelman has no mercy for upstarts in playoffs



Enquirer news services

DALLAS - Sacramento coach Rick Adelman wants to see the NBA playoffs reseeded after each round to reward the best regular-season teams with the most favorable matchups.

As it stands now, if a No. 8 seed beats a No. 1 seed in the first round, then the No. 8 seed plays the winner of Nos. 4 vs. 5. The No. 2 seed, if it wins its first-round series, plays the winner of Nos. 3 vs. 6.

Under Adelman's plan, the highest-ranked seeds left in the playoffs always would play the lowest-ranked seeds.

"To me, that makes all the sense in the world," Adelman said. "The second seed should be the top seed if the top seed is knocked out. That would give the regular season more meaning."

Yes, you could argue that Adelman is being, ahem, a bit self-serving, considering his Kings are headed for the No. 2 seed.

Still, Adelman - a longtime proponent of the seven-game series in the first round, which the NBA is using next month, is hopeful the league at least will consider it.

"I started talking about the seven-game series eight years ago, and it's just now changing," Adelman said. "So maybe eight years down the line, this will change, too."

CAROLINA ON THEIR MINDS? Two NBA coaches - each a former North Carolina Tar Heel player - are expected to be candidates if Roy Williams does not take the job.

Sixers coach Larry Brown (Class of '63) has coached at UCLA and Kansas and probably would return to his alma mater if asked by former coach Dean Smith. Brown, you may recall, left the New Jersey Nets late in the regular season in 1983 to accept the job at Kansas, Smith's alma mater.

Bucks coach George Karl (Class of '73) has never coached in college but might be ready to give it a shot after back-to-back disappointing seasons in Milwaukee. He even has an escape clause in his contract to take the UNC job, one he campaigned for three years ago when calling it a "dream job."

The timing of a possible move would be terrible for either team, since the Sixers are already in the playoffs and the Bucks are on the verge of clinching a spot. But if the decision comes down to money, their current annual salaries - Brown makes $6 million, Karl makes $7 million - might make such a move prohibitive. Then, the decision would be to follow their heart ... or their pocketbooks.

FOOLED YOU: Mavericks owner Mark Cuban pulled the best April Fools joke of the year (unofficially). Cuban got a phony referee to stand at the free throw line during a timeout and spent some time yelling at the faux ref.

Then Cuban approached the man and shoved him, and the two got into a brawl. Some team personnel, including a fooled center Evan Eschmeyer, began pulling the two apart. Assistant Del Harris fell for the bit also, heading toward Cuban to pull him away.

JORDAN ON LeBRON: Michael Jordan is either an objective observer bringing some proper perspective to the LeBron James hype, or he's just an old, bitter player:

"I think once James gets on this level, he's not in the upper echelon of shooting guards and small forwards. I think he's toward the bottom," Jordan said. "He has unbelievable potential, but he hasn't played against the competition consistently in college or the pros. He's played against high school kids who are probably under 6 feet and have the talent of sportswriters.

"Five years from now, if he takes on the dedication of being the best basketball player he can be and continues to improve and accept challenges and not get comfortable with what's been given to him, or what the expectations may be, he can be a good pro."

Stat of the week

Which teams have the best benches, at least in terms of scoring production? Here are the five best this season:

Team Avg. Top bench scorer
1. Pistons 33.9 C. Williamson(12.0)
2. Bucks 32.7 M. Redd (15.1)
3. Bulls 32.2 x-M. Fizer (11.7)
x-injured, out for season.




REDS
Reds lose, Junior's hurt
Dunn angered by fan reaction to Griffey
Crosley was home of HRs before new park
Reds notebook: Team, Vaughn's agent talk
Reds Q&A

OTHER BASEBALL
Sosa put 500 behind, thinks bigger numbers
NL: Phils thump Pirates
AL: Royals are 5-0

BENGALS
Bengals Q&A

FINAL FOUR
Syracuse 95, Texas 84
Kansas 94, Marquette 61
Daugherty: Souped-up Jayhawks
Kansas vs. Syracuse for NCAA championship
Texas couldn't break the Syracuse zone
Williams gets another shot
Wade's world comes crashing down
Final Four notebook
Final Four week tarnished by coaching speculation
NCAA aggregate leaders

WOMEN'S FINAL FOUR
This is no ordinary trip for Lady Vols
Texas' goal: Stop Taurasi
Auriemma, Taurasi pick up top honors

XAVIER
West wins 4th player of year award

OTHER COLLEGE HOOPS
Loyola pioneered integrated basketball
Cronin gets top job at Murray State

PREP SPORTS
Groeschen: Prep insider
Prep results

SUNDAY SPOTLITE
Baseball movies, fair and foul
UC's cricket club gearing up for season
Enquirer Page Two power rankings

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
QB Krenzel sharpens focus

GOLF
Janzen dials 2-stroke BellSouth lead
Tiger Woods focused on unprecedented three-peat

HORSE RACING
Buddy Gil punches ticket to Kentucky
Elloluv impressive in Ashland win

AUTO RACING
Earnhardt Jr. wins Busch race
Little E chasing history at Talladega
Rubinho on pole for home F1 race

HOCKEY
Samsonov return bodes well for B's in playoffs
Ducks LW Severson recalled to Anaheim

NBA
Suns stop T-Wolves in playoff run
Adelman has no mercy for upstarts in playoffs

TENNIS
Spain vs. Argentina in semis

PLAN YOUR DAY
Sports this weekend on TV, radio