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Volume 68, Issue 143, Wednesday, May 28, 2003 


Rockets look to fill vacancy

NBA Notebook

Christian Schmidt

Judging from the list of candidates, Rudy Tomjanovichis exit as Houston Rockets head coach didnit come as that big of a surprise. Since his resignation Friday, a handful of hopefuls have gone out of their way to explain how good of a team the Rockets are.

Tomjanovichis departure sparked considerable rumors about who might be replacing him. Former New York Knicks head coach Jeff Van Gundy has been rumored to be the early favorite of Rockets owner Les Alexander. The Rockets will probably look for a coach with previous NBA head coaching experience and a marquee name, both of which Van Gundy fits.

Other names mentioned for the job have been former 76ers coach Larry Brown, former Portland coach Mike Dunleavy and former New Orleans coach Paul Silas.

Western Conference

With their collective backs against the wall, the Dallas Mavericks regrouped and stunned the San Antonio Spurs 103-91. Now down 3-2 in the best-of seven series, the Mavericks hope that star forward Dirk Nowitzkiis knee will be healed in time for Game 6 on Thursday in Dallas. 

In Nowitzkiis absence, swingman Michael Finley scored 31 points, including 12-12 from the free-throw line.

The Spurs have to be kicking themselves when their sizable lead in the first half vanished into a soul-searching loss at home. Tim Duncan was a one-man show as point guard Tony Parkeris poor performance might spark those Jason Kidd rumors again.

Eastern Conference

The New Jersey Nets barely paused to catch their breath in dispatching the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Nets looked great beating the Pistons and New Jerseyis best player, Jason Kidd, has been at the top of his game throughout the playoffs.

The Finals

The Nets arenit big enough to handle the Spurs and arenit versatile enough to compete with the Mavericks. Head coach Byron Scott and staff are surely mired in the swamps of New Jersey, trying to compose a game-plan against two diametrically different teams.

Coaching carousel

Tomjanovichis decision to step down as the Rocketsi head coach is just one of a number of moves made by NBA head coaches over the last several weeks.

The most surprising decision came from Brown, who resigned from the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday. Brown stated he was fatigued and that it was time for a change. More than a few experts believe Brown will end up with another NBA head coaching job in the next few weeks.

Silas was let go from his job as head coach of the New Orleans Hornets in another surprise move. Silas had taken the team to the playoffs in the last two seasons with a core of young stars and talented veterans that will have a chance to go deep in the playoffs next season.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have been looking for a head coach since dismissing John Lucas during the season. Early speculation linked Van Gundy to the job, though he may be a frontrunner for the Houston job as well. In a recent interview, prospective top pick LeBron James seemed less than enthusiastic about the prospect of playing for Van Gundy.

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