|Sprewell has 'incomplete' foot fracture|
NEW YORK -- More bad news arrived Sunday for the New York
Knicks: Latrell Sprewell suffered a foot injury, but it didn't keep him out
of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.
"It's pretty stiff. It hurts," Sprewell said Sunday as his
name was added to the Knicks' rapidly growing list of injured
players. Sprewell has a fractured fifth metatarsal, the bone behind
the little toe on his left foot.
Patrick Ewing missed New York's 98-95 victory Saturday night
with acute tendinitis in his foot, and Marcus Camby went down with
a knee sprain.
The Knicks listed Ewing, Camby and Sprewell as day-to-day. Camby, who said his knee was
feeling better and his availability Monday would be a game-time
decision, played and had eight rebounds, five points and three blocks.
Sprewell played a 44 minutes in Game 4 and scored 12 points.
The Knicks were calling the injury to Sprewell, who scored 32
points in Game 3 as New York cut Indiana's lead to 2-1 in the
best-of-seven series, a bruise until an MRI after practice revealed
what the team called "an incomplete fracture."
Sprewell was injured diving for a loose ball with 30 seconds
left. He was held out of practice Sunday along with Ewing and
Camby, and Larry Johnson missed half of practice with a stiff back.
It all added up to a long list of question marks for the Knicks,
whose offensive versatility would have been severely tested if Ewing,
Camby and Sprewell are all sidelined.
The Pacers said they would continue to use single coverage
against Sprewell and Allan Houston, but that was before they knew
about Sprewell's injury. The double-teaming strategy would likely
change if Sprewell can't play.
One thing the Pacers didn't expect is any reduction in the
New York is now 5-1 against the Pacers in the playoffs over the past
two years when Ewing has been sidelined, and the belief among
Indiana's players and coaching staff is that the Knicks are a more
dangerous team when Ewing isn't around to slow down the offense and
clog up the lane.
"Time and time again, they've shown when somebody goes down
that someone else will step up," Indiana's Reggie Miller said.
Coach Larry Bird benched Miller for the final 1:49 of the fourth
quarter, angry that Miller was arguing with the referees. If
Miller's pride was wounded, he wasn't showing it publicly Sunday
after the Pacers watched film of the Game 3 loss.
Miller and Bird spoke privately after the film session, but
neither revealed details of what was discussed.
"We were down by 10 when I came out, so what's the big deal?"
Miller said. "Was there a guarantee we were going to win the
ballgame if I was in there?
"Why would I be upset? I think you guys are making a big deal
out of nothing."
The Pacers pulled within three points with Miller on the bench,
but got no closer as they failed to commit a foul in the final four
seconds to stop the clock.
"If we could have gotten a foul with four seconds to go, he
(Miller) would have been in there. We would have had Chris Mullin
in there and all the shooters," Bird said.
Another questionable decision by Bird was leaving Dale Davis on
the bench for the final eight minutes.
Davis has grabbed 16 rebounds in each of the first three games,
and the Pacers might have used him to create some second shots
during their late rally.
"I'm a competitor, and I want to play as much as possible,"
Davis said. "He didn't say why. It's not a big deal. I would have
liked to be in there, but I wasn't. I don't question coaches'
decisions, even if I don't agree with them."
Saying he didn't regret any of his moves, Bird questioned why
his players settled for jump shots in the second half instead of
continuing to get the ball inside to Rik Smits. He also chided
Austin Croshere for losing his confidence and took his team to task
for lacking a killer instinct -- a character trait that has beguiled
Bird throughout his three seasons coaching the Pacers.
"They've been in this situation so many times and have never
been able to put teams away and move on. Can they do it? I don't
know. They never have," Bird said.
"If we could have got that game, we'd have them in a world of
hurt. I've never been in New York at Madison Square Garden and
heard a crowd as soft as this crowd was. I've never seen that, and
I'll never see it again. I guarantee that."
|Latrell Sprewell was injured on this play late in Saturday's game. Jalen Rose, top, tumbled over him in a scramble for the ball.|