Injured Best may not play Game 5

Pacers reserve hurts shoulder fouling O'Neal

NBA notes

Pro Basketball

June 16, 2000|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

INDIANAPOLIS - Travis Best committed a flagrant foul on Shaquille O'Neal during Wednesday night's Game 4, which, at the time it happened, did not cost his team too much.

O'Neal made the free throws, but the Lakers failed to score on the ensuing possession. A day later, Best's foul may have cost the backup point guard a chance to compete in the rest of NBA Finals.

Best grabbed O'Neal with 7:41 left in the fourth quarter when the Lakers' center was going up for a dunk. The 7-foot-1 O'Neal made the basket anyway as the 5-11 Best landed on his left shoulder.

Best did not practice yesterday and said he was having trouble moving his arm.

"I can't move it very fast," Best said. "My range of motion is gone. If we were to play [yesterday], I wouldn't be able to play."

Best has been a valuable contributor, splitting time with Mark Jackson. The two complement each other, Best with his ability to score and Jackson with his veteran leadership and skilled passing.

But without Best, Jackson would get the bulk of the minutes at point guard, and the Pacers may even have to move small forward Jalen Rose to the point for a few stints.

Best, who played the rest of the game with the injured shoulder, implied that it may have affected him on the Pacers' last possession in regulation. With the score tied at 104 in the final seconds Wednesday night, Best shot an air ball with O'Neal guarding him. The Lakers went on to win in overtime, 120-118.

"I don't make excuses though," Best said. "That is a shot I make."

Shaq's favorites

The first four letters of his first name spell out the name that O'Neal is called by most, but he admits to having stolen the name from someone else.

"Well, coming out of high school, Charles Shackleford was my favorite center, and I stole his name, his number and his identity," O'Neal said. "He was the original Shaq."

O'Neal said he grew to like other centers though. "There was Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, Rony Seikaly," he said. "Remember how Seikaly used to dunk at Syracuse, he used to lift his legs up. That's why Seikaly."

Hill out of Olympics

Grant Hill says there's no doubt about it: He's out of the Olympics.

Hill, the Detroit Pistons' star who broke his left ankle in April, said the decision was made more than a month ago based on his doctor's recommendation and his desire to be ready for next season.

"The doctors advised me not to, although I probably could have played," Hill said before a promotional appearance in Manhattan.

Possible replacements could be Kobe Bryant of the Lakers or Eddie Jones of the Charlotte Hornets.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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