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Now He Thinks He’s the Laker Stopper

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Even though the Lakers dominated Portland, 91-79, Friday night at Staples Center, Ruben Patterson of the Trail Blazers remains unimpressed by the defending NBA champions.

“We should have won the game,” he told the Portland Oregonian. “We can beat the Lakers. I would rather meet them in the first round.

“I’m not scared of them. They are not that good. We had the game in our hand. We let it go.”

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Question is: Who is Patterson trying to convince?

Trivia time: Nevada Las Vegas scored an NCAA championship game-record 103 points in defeating Duke in 1990. What was the previous record?

Why not own ‘em all? Norman Chad writing for America Online: “If Philip Anschutz can’t win the MLS cup, it’s not for lack of effort.

“Major League Soccer--the stepchild of American pro sports--is back smaller than ever, but Anschutz is larger than ever.

“The Denver billionaire collects soccer players like mantelpieces collect dust. In the new and contracted 10-team MLS, Anschutz owns half the teams and has a half-interest in a sixth.”

Still sharp: Peter Vecsey in the New York Post commenting on Chick Hearn:

“No offense to the fabled one, but Paul Sunderland’s pregame dialogue with Phil Jackson, in-depth preparation and quick wit will be greatly missed. Still, Hearn sounded especially impertinent prior to the Lakers restricting the Blazers to 79 points.

“He told a Fox interviewer, ‘The Laker defense is in need of more rehab than I do.’

“Thanked for his time, Hearn wryly replied, ‘Where’s my gift?’”

More Vecsey: “Before we go any further, let’s see if I understand the latest ESPN bulletin: If Michael Jordan finds he can’t play on one leg next season he’ll retire. But if both legs are fairly functional he will play.

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“I’m confused. Does that mean, if I’m not breathing next season, I’m dead? And if I am breathing, I’m alive? OK, I think I got the picture.”

Makes sense: Cincinnati Red center fielder Ken Griffey Jr.: “Last year I was hurt and we were losing. But I kept hearing, ‘Junior doesn’t smile anymore.’

“Who smiles all the time when they’re hurt and losing?”

FYI: When Utah Jazz guard John Stocktonturned 40 on Tuesday, Leon Wood was among three referees for Utah’s game against Houston.

Wood, who turned 40 a day earlier, was selected 10th in the 1984 draft; Stockton was 16th.

Looking back: On this day in 1985, Villanova upset Georgetown, 66-64, to win the NCAA men’s basketball championship in Lexington, Ky.

The Wildcats made 79% of their shots from the field (22 of 28).

Trivia answer: UCLA defeated Duke, 98-83, in 1964 in winning its first NCAA championship.

And finally: Ira Winderman in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: “The next expenditure for Maverick owner Mark Cuban might be a locker-room valet. Last week, Dallas guard Nick Van Exel pulled a muscle in his rib cage while putting on a shirt.

“Before a Maverick-Wizard game Dec. 8, Dirk Nowitzki sprained his ankle while putting on a shoe.”

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