Price goes the distance to win in 3s

February 21, 1993|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Staff Writer

SALT LAKE CITY -- When Mark Price watched Portland's Terry Porter approach the final rack of five balls at the Delta Arena, needing to make only two shots or his final bonus attempt to win the Long Distance Shootout, he did some quick arithmetic.

"I figured I'd walk away with $10,000 rather than the winning share of $20,000," the Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star guard said.

But Price was as surprised as the sellout crowd when Porter missed his last five shots, banging several off the back rim, and did not even get the final one off in the allotted time.

It left Price with a 18-17 victory over Porter, who knows what it feels like to be second after losing in the NBA finals two of the past three years against the Pistons and Bulls.

"Up until that last rack, I was shooting the ball pretty good," Porter said. "But after I missed the first two, I tried to take more time and just lost my rhythm."

All told, Price, winning for the first time after being eliminated in the first round in 1988 and 1990, made 52 of his 75 three-point attempts for a sensational 69 percent.

Price dethroned Craig Hodges, who had won the past three competitions. When Hodges, the former Chicago Bull, was waived out of the league, it was Price who questioned his right to defend his three-point title at the annual All-Star game.

But yesterday, there was no sign of malice between the guards.

"I thought it was against league policy for him to compete," Price said. "Once Craig got the OK, I had no complaint. You want to beat the champion."

Hodges said the lack of real basketball competition probably cost him a chance at a fourth straight title. He has been keeping his shooting eye practicing in high school gyms in Indiana.

"Trying to create some kind of rhythm is difficult unless you've been in game-type situations," he said. "It's just not the same when you're practicing on your own."

I= Hodges even found sympathy for Porter, who came so close.

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