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Old 04-15-06, 12:29 AM
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curiousspirit curiousspirit is offline
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They hear the clock ticking

They hear the clock ticking



It's nearing decision time in the NBA -- when the regular season concludes, the playoffs begin. . . . and coaches get fired. Five coaches hear the clock ticking -- some more loudly than others.

1. Bob Hill, SuperSonics. Hill took over for Bob Weiss in early January after the Sonics got off to a 13-17 start. Hill has guided the Sonics to a 19-26 record since. Do the math. Weiss' winning percentage (.433) was better than Hill's (.422). And both fall far short of the Sonics' 52 wins last season under Nate McMillan. The Sonics' front office must bear some responsibility for the step back because three key role players -- Flip Murray, Vladimir Radmanovic and Reggie Evans -- went into the season on one-year contracts. Each was traded. Chemistry pushed the Sonics to the Western Conference semifinals a year ago, and a lack of it will put them in the lottery this year.

2. Sam Mitchell, Raptors. As far as accomplishments go, Mitchell's most notable one has been steadying the Raptors after a horrendous 1-15 start. That likely won't be enough for new president and general manager Bryan Colangelo, who had higher standards with the Suns. It certainly doesn't help that the man who brought Mitchell in -- Rob Babcock -- was let go earlier this season. In the end, Mitchell's future might hinge on two factors: his relationship with Colangelo and his relationship with star power forward Chris Bosh.


3. Maurice Cheeks, 76ers. Cheeks is one of the NBA's classiest men. But facts are facts, and facts are not on his side. The 76ers had lost 13 of 18 games entering the week, and the majority of those defeats had been by double digits. Allen Iverson and Chris Webber have been mostly healthy this season but have failed to form a successful partnership. Cheeks would seem to be most likely to take the fall here, though a case could be made that team president Billy King or perhaps even Iverson should beat him out the door.

4. Mike Montgomery, Warriors. This began as the season in which the Warriors would end their seemingly interminable playoff drought (now at 12 years). Instead, the team likely will fail to match last season's win total of 34. On the surface, Montgomery, who is finishing his second season, doesn't seem to have a prayer of returning.

Not so fast. Vice president Chris Mullin has said several times that Montgomery will not be fired. In fact, Mullin has gone so far as saying that firing Montgomery would be "weak." One thing the coach has going for him is Mullin's desire to bring stability to the organization. Consider this: If Montgomery is the Warriors' coach on opening night next season, he'll be the franchise's longest-tenured coach since P.J. Carlesimo, who was fired in 2000.

5. Rick Adelman, Kings. The Kings were eight games under .500 at the end of January, and it was a foregone conclusion that Adelman, in the final year of his deal, would be fired. The bigger question was whether he'd last the season.

But the addition of small forward Ron Artest has turned the Kings around, and they're headed toward their eighth consecutive playoff appearance with Adelman at the helm. There still are signs this could be Adelman's final season in Sacramento, but give him credit for a low-key approach that has worked perfectly since Artest's arrival.

http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn...ic.php?t=82580
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