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The way the Lakers performed on Sunday, silencing the Seattle
crowd with a 32-point first quarter and then holding off a
furious Sonics rally to win 104-103, is a bad sign for the rest
of the Western Conference. L.A. is now 2-0 against the Sonics
and 1-1 against Houston. "We're getting a little better every
day," says Lakers guard Byron Scott. "And even more important, a
little more confident." Seattle, meanwhile, is 0-6 in games
against the Jazz, the Rockets and the Lakers.... Suspended Bulls
forward Dennis Rodman, who has been ordered by the league to
undergo psychiatric counseling, spent the wee hours last Friday
morning at Drink, a Las Vegas nightclub. Rodman weaved around
the stage with a 1970s nostalgia group, Boogie Knights, ranting
("F--- Michael Jordan. F--- Grant Hill") and requesting such
favorites as (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party). "I'm
the only NBA player you'd see up here," a shirtless Rodman told
the crowd. "'Cause I'm real. I'm real, bro." At one point he was
about to pull down his pants before security stepped in.... Why
all the fuss about the Magic's Penny Hardaway's being voted to
start in the All-Star Game? Yes, he has been injured most of the
season, but he's the best point guard in the East, and the fans
want to see him. From all the complaining, you would think L'il
Penny had been named to the squad.... Shades of the Big O:
Pistons forward Grant Hill averaged a triple double in road
games against the Trail Blazers, the Grizzlies and the Lakers
last week (28.3 points, 12.0 rebounds and 10.7 assists)....
Hawks 7'2" center Dikembe Mutombo, on his popularity when he
returns to his native Zaire: "I'm like Elvis." Only bigger....
Which NBA bomber gets the highest percentage of his offense from
beyond the arc? That would be 6'4" Heat guard Voshon Lenard, who
at week's end had scored 69.2% of his points from three-point
range. (The Pistons' Terry Mills, at 66.4%, ranked second.)
Since Dec. 17 the 23-year-old Lenard has made a sizzling 47.5%
(67 of 141) of his threes. Not bad for a guy who began last
season in the CBA.... The Pacers, struggling at 19-21, have been
using the same airplane that Bob Dole used during his campaign
for president. Apparently the Hindenburg wasn't available....
With a 95-89 victory over the Heat at Madison Square Garden on
Sunday, the Knicks have won 47 of their last 52 games against
their Atlantic Division rivals.... After getting hit in the face
with a towel by Robert Horry, Suns coach Danny Ainge got a
present from a former teammate. "I sent Danny a towel, and I
autographed it," Celtics coach M.L. Carr says. Presumably Ainge
will be shipping Carr a case of Ping-Pong balls when the NBA
draft lottery nears.... Grizzlies coach Brian Winters lost his
job to president and general manager Stu Jackson last Friday,
continuing a trend of coaches' being replaced by the guy doing
the firing. Other recent examples include Celtics coach Chris
Ford (Carr) and Spurs coach Bob Hill (Gregg Popovich). No wonder
so many coaches want to have G.M. duties as well.... Pistons
forward Grant Long has taken to wearing lengthy sideburns that
taper at midcheek. "I'm paying tribute to Artis Gilmore," he
says.... Having watched the Packers wax their Patriots, New
England fans can look forward to more blowouts. The Celtics,
1-15 away from the FleetCenter, play 12 of their next 15 games
on the road.

COLOR PHOTO: BILL FRAKES Despite missing 23 games because of injuries, Penny is still the people's choice. [Penny Hardaway in game]




Mavericks forward A.C. Green owns 12 Denny's franchises in and
around his hometown of Portland, so he's a student of
restaurants. Here's a list of his favorite late-night dining
spots (besides his own):

1 Roscoe's House of Chicken & Waffles, Los Angeles
2 Aunt Kizzy's Back Porch, Los Angeles
3 Doris's Cafe, Portland
4 The Cheesecake Factory, Los Angeles
5 Yoshi's, Phoenix