The Bullets might be this season's biggest disappointment, but
Juwan Howard denies that he and the team's other forward, Chris
Webber, both power forwards by nature, are having trouble
meshing on offense. "We do bump heads at times," says the 6'9"
Howard, who as a center teamed successfully with the 6'10"
Webber during their Fab Five glory days at Michigan. "Sometimes
I try too hard to give him room to operate, and sometimes he
does the same for me. But it can work. I just think it's going
to take time for everyone here to learn to play together." At
week's end Webber was averaging 19.6 points and 9.9 rebounds,
while Howard was averaging 19.2 points and 8.2 rebounds, but the
Bullets would be better served if the team had a traditional
small forward with either Webber or Howard at the 4 spot....
Don't expect Raptors guard Damon Stoudamire to become a free
agent in '98. The Raptors want to give Mighty Mouse a contract
extension after this season, and Stoudamire says he's
interested. "I've tried to visualize myself in a Nuggets uniform
or a Lakers uniform, and I just can't see it," he says....
Before a Feb. 23 game against the Mavericks, Suns general
manager Jerry Colangelo found this in his fortune cookie: "Your
troubles will cease and fortune will smile upon you." Maybe not.
That night the Suns squandered a 16-point fourth-quarter lead
and lost, 88-86.... Bryant (Big Country) Reeves is apparently a
big Stu Jackson fan. "Our offense is running a lot more smoothly
[under Jackson]," Reeves says. "We're getting some easy baskets
in transition." Since Jackson fired Brian Winters and took over
as the Grizzlies' coach on Jan. 24, Reeves has averaged 20.2
points and 8.5 rebounds, up from 13.3 points and 7.7
rebounds.... Mavericks guard Sasha Danilovic, obtained from
Miami in last month's Jamal Mashburn trade, might return to
Europe to play next season. If so, Dallas G.M. Don Nelson will
have only forward Kurt Thomas, who has been on the
injured-reserve list since the deal, and seldom-used forward
Martin Muursepp to show for the trade.... When the Heat recently
signed journeyman center Matt Fish to a 10-day contract, many
Miami fans no doubt remembered him as the Clipper who
slam-dunked so hard on former Heat forward John Salley that
Salley left the game at halftime with heart palpitations. So
what jersey number did Fish receive when he reported to Miami?
None other than Salley's old 22.... The sight of Rockets guard
Clyde Drexler back on the practice court on Feb. 26 brought a
twinkle to Charles Barkley's eye. When he overheard Drexler
saying he's ahead of schedule in recovering from the torn left
hamstring that has kept him out for 13 games, Sir Charles
yelled, "Ahead of schedule? There are guys who had bypass
surgery who came back quicker than Clyde.".... Sonics coach
George Karl says teams should consider hiring women as assistant
coaches. "So much of what we do is communication," Karl told the
Cleveland Plain Dealer. "And so many of our players come from
single-parent homes, and usually the dominant figure is a female
figure--mother, grandmother, aunt. To me, it's getting players
to listen to you, getting them to understand what you want, and
that all comes down to communication."
COLOR PHOTO: DAVID LIAM KYLE The Bullets may have too much of a good thing with Webber and Howard (5). [Chris Webber and Juwan Howard in game]
COLOR PHOTO: JOHN W. MCDONOUGH [Robin Ficker holding rubber chicken]
Bullets season-ticket holder Robin Ficker is the NBA's
best-known heckler. For 12 years he has sat behind the visiting
team at Washington home games and dished out a steady stream of
PG-rated trash talk for opposing players and coaches. Here are
Ficker's favorite targets in the category of most thin-skinned.
1 Shaquille O'Neal Lakers
2 Scottie Pippen Bulls
3 Patrick Ewing Knicks
4 Pat Riley Heat
5 LaSalle Thompson Pacers