HOOP SCOOP

January 27, 1997

Recently, Orlando coach Brian Hill said his team could still win
the Atlantic Division title. Most people scoffed. But after his
team's 99-87 road victory on Sunday over division-leading Miami,
Hill's words don't amount to just another Magic Kingdom wish
upon a star. With guards Penny Hardaway and Nick Anderson back
from knee and wrist injuries, respectively, Orlando has won four
of its last five. "If we have everybody healthy, I'm convinced
we can play with anybody in this league," Hardaway says. "I
refuse to even look at the standings." Whether or not Orlando,
16-19 at week's end, passes Miami (28-11) and New York (27-11)
for the division lead, it will make a dangerous opponent in the
playoffs.... Grizzlies president Stu Jackson is shopping his
team's first-round pick in 1997. But buyer beware: As an
expansion team Vancouver, which has the league's worst record,
is ineligible to have the No. 1 selection until '98. And this
year's crop of draftees drops off precipitously after the
surefire first choice, Wake Forest center Tim Duncan.... The
76ers are reportedly listening to trade offers for guard Jerry
Stackhouse. Billed by some as "the next Michael Jordan" when he
was taken with the third pick last year, Stackhouse is shooting
just 38.7% from the field and hasn't meshed with rookie point
guard Allen Iverson.... Heat coach Pat Riley must be careful he
doesn't wear out his charges. Dan Majerle, Sasha Danilovic, Kurt
Thomas and Gary Grant have been injured already this season, and
Riley has been forced to curtail his famously grueling
practices.... Raptors point guard Damon Stoudamire is shooting
just 38.7% from the floor, but coach Darrell Walker says there's
nothing technically wrong with his shot. "And even if there was,
what could I do about it?" Walker says. "Hell, I couldn't shoot
when I played."... With 39 blocked shots in his last 11 games,
6'11" forward Kevin Garnett of Minnesota has climbed to fifth in
the league in that category, swatting 2.79 per game. He trails
only centers Shawn Bradley (4.25), Dikembe Mutombo (3.69),
Shaquille O'Neal (3.13) and Alonzo Mourning (2.97).... Through
Sunday the Spurs had lost six of seven, and new coach Gregg
Popovich was unable to call on David Robinson, Sean Elliott,
Charles Smith, Dominique Wilkins, Chuck Person and Vinny Del
Negro because of injuries. Former coach Bob Hill, meanwhile, was
acting as an unofficial Nets assistant in charge of tutoring
their big men. Suddenly, working with Bradley and Yinka Dare
doesn't seem so bad.... For the fifth straight year Pistons
guard Joe Dumars has declined an invitation to compete in the
Long Distance Shootout during All-Star weekend. "I can't just
stand there and shoot like that," he says. "I have to be hot. I
have to have a play called for me." In other words, Dumars would
rather have the vacation time.... Sixers forward Derrick
Coleman, who missed the Jan. 13 game with Utah because of a cut
on his left pinkie, has now missed 40% of his potential matchups
with Utah's Karl Malone over his career. Coleman has played nine
games against the Jazz--losing each time--and missed six with
injuries. Who said DC doesn't have good timing?

COLOR PHOTO: AL TIELEMANS Stackhouse's errant shooting has Philly open to trade offers. [Jerry Stackhouse] COLOR PHOTO: ROCKY WIDNER [Brian Shaw] COLOR PHOTO: ROBIN MOYER/TIME [A bass]

PERSONAL FILE

When Magic guard Brian Shaw talks about going to the hole, he
often means a fishing spot. He is such an avid angler, in fact,
that he recently hosted his own charity bass-fishing tournament
in Orlando. Here are Shaw's favorite places to drop a line.

1 Just off Ketchikan, Alaska, in the Pacific Ocean
2 Butler Lake, near Orlando
3 Clear Lake, near Ukiah, Calif.
4 Marathon Key, Fla., in the Gulf of Mexico
5 English Bay, in Vancouver

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)