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Lakers Practice Magic, Find Another Magician

When the Lakers arrived for practice Monday morning at Loyola Marymount, Coach Pat Riley said that if any player could duplicate Magic Johnson’s last-second 3-point shot that sent Sunday night’s game against the Washington Bullets into overtime, he would cancel practice.

Riley set up the same half-court inbounds play, and players took turns trying to duplicate the 37-footer that Johnson sank the night before.

Rookie David Rivers, in perhaps his biggest basket as a professional, made the shot, and practice was canceled.

And how did Magic do?

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Air ball.

Billy Ripken of the Baltimore Orioles, on Eddie Murray: “In L.A., he might hit 35 homers and drive in 120 runs. He’s capable of that.”

Said Jim Traber: “With Kirk Gibson, who can run, in front of him, Eddie might just take off. He’s still a clutch hitter, and out there, you’ll see a person who’s not going to have as much pressure on him, self-imposed or otherwise.”

Trivia Time: Who is the only athlete to win both the Heisman Trophy and the Sullivan Award? (Answer below.)

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Said Roger Craig after gaining 103 yards in San Francisco’s 13-3 win over Atlanta: “We can run against anybody. We’ve been running like this all year.”

Well, almost. Against the Chicago Bears, Craig gained 31 yards in 10 carries.

Dallas Green, new manager of the New York Yankees, has been called blunt. How blunt?

“Ask Billy Connors,” wrote Steve Buckley of the Hartford Courant. “He’s a former Cubs pitching coach who will be reunited with Green on the Yankees in 1989. Connors, who underwent hip replacement surgery following the 1986 season, remembers sitting in a chair in his hospital room when Green stopped by for a visit. ‘I got up to show him I can walk,’ Connors said. ‘I was so proud of that. And then he says to me, “We have to make a change,” and that’s how I found out I was being fired.’ ”

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Would-you-believe-it dept.: In 1958, Don Buford was USC’s leading ground gainer for the season with 306 yards. Barry Sanders of Oklahoma State, against Kansas State this year, gained 320 yards. Against Kansas, he had 312 yards.

Kansas City Royals catcher Bob Boone, who hit a career-high .295 for the Angels last year, told the New York Times: “As amazing as it sounds, I learned how to hit. It took me 20 years, but I’ve learned how to hit. It’s not a fluke. I did a couple of things and I had great balance. I’ve always been able to put the bat on the ball. Being in the proper hitting position when the ball gets in the hitting zone makes a big difference. I kick myself for being such a dummy. Why couldn’t I have found that balance earlier?”

Trivia Answer: Doc Blanchard of Army.

Quotebook

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Buddy Baron, sports director of Houston radio station KKHT, on the possibility of Nolan Ryan signing with the Angels: “Nolan Ryan to California? Out there, they think Cy Young is a cosmetic surgeon.”


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