If the Clippers had picked Del Harris to succeed Larry Brown last year, they would have been ripped for hiring a retread who has a losing NBA coaching record. . . .
When the Lakers picked Harris to succeed Magic Johnson last week, they were cited for hiring a good X’s and O’s guy who has NBA experience. . . .
Actually, it is little wonder why Jerry West long has been impressed by Harris. . . .
Not only did Harris’ Houston Rockets upset the Lakers in the first round of the 1981 playoffs, his Milwaukee Bucks were 7-3 against the Lakers in five seasons. . . .
Harris’ last game as a coach was a 126-94 beating of the Lakers at Milwaukee on Dec. 3, 1991. . . .
That Scottie Pippen sure is a gamer, still going all out in the last 1.8 seconds of the Chicago Bulls’ 95-83 rout of the New York Knicks Sunday. . . .
Go figure the Suns, who stage the greatest fourth-quarter comeback in NBA history at Houston to take a 2-0 series lead over the Rockets and then stink out the joint twice in a row at Phoenix. . . .
This time, Atlanta Hawks’ fans can’t blame Danny Manning, whose 35 points were more than even Dominique Wilkins would have scored against the Indiana Pacers. . . .
Look-alikes: John Starks and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. . . .
I wonder if Angelo Mazzone has purchased his World Cup tickets yet. . . .
How important is defense in baseball? The Dodgers didn’t make an error in five of the six games during their home stand and went undefeated. . . .
Shortstop Jose Offerman’s fielding average is more important to the team than his batting average. . . .
How appropriate that Brett Butler’s 2,000th career hit was a bunt single. Nobody executes that maneuver better than Butler, who has been voted the finest bunter in the National League four consecutive years. . . .
The Dodgers’ team batting average of .279 is seven points higher than their L.A. record, set during the National League championship season of 1974. . . .
However, the 1894 Brooklyn Dodgers hit .313. If I recall correctly, that was a lively ball year. . . .
Paul O’Neill, the New York Yankee right fielder who leads the American League in batting at .467, isn’t on the All-Star ballot. There can’t be more than three outfielders from any team, and the Yankees are represented by Danny Tartabull, Bernie Williams and Luis Polonia. . . .
Tony Gwynn, the San Diego Padre right fielder who leads the National League in batting at .408 and is on the ballot, studies videotape every day. . . .
“I’m not good enough to get by on my natural ability,” Gwynn said. . . .
Jerry Coleman, the Padre broadcaster who managed the team to a 73-89 record and last-place finish in the NL West in 1980, said to Tom Lasorda, “I don’t know why you’re still doing this. Managing is the worst job in baseball.”. . . .
Fred Claire, Dodger executive vice president, says Raul Mondesi has such a great arm that scouts come out to the park early just to watch him throw. . . .
There must have been a mob at the airport Sunday night to welcome home the first-place Angels. . . .
The Detroit Tigers, who are in last in the AL East, would be in first in the AL West. . . .
John Atherton has succeeded Sal Gonzalez Jr. as the leading apprentice on the Southland circuit and is quickly winning a following. . . .
Atherton, 22, is a former popcorn vendor who was a Channel League championship wrestler at Ventura High and is married to Johnny Longden’s granddaughter Trudy. . . .
The third annual Great Sports Legends dinner, a benefit for the Paralysis Project of America, will be held June 7 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire. Parnelli Jones, Maury Wills, Jamaal Wilkes, Jim Plunkett, Cathy Rigby, Charlie Simmer, Bill Rodgers, Evelyn Ashford and Jim Knaub will be honored and the John R. Wooden Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Dr. Jerry Buss. Tickets are available from the Paralysis Project and Campbell Communications. . . .
The Toronto Maple Leafs might be tired tonight against Vancouver after having only a day’s rest, but the Canucks might be rusty after five days off. . . .
That was some shock, Steffi Graf winning the German Open. . . .
Jim Rome on the aftermath of the Jim Everett incident: “For a week and a half, I was Tonya Harding.”