Miami Heat center Isaac Austin isn't the only NBA understudy
who, as an emergency replacement for an injured star, has raised
his game this season. Here's our list of the
subs-turned-starters who have been the most instrumental in
keeping their teams afloat.

Charles (Bo) Outlaw, F-C, Orlando Magic. After four years as an
effective but obscure backup with the Los Angeles Clippers, the
energetic Outlaw signed a two-year, $2.2 million free-agent pact
with Orlando last summer that has paid immediate dividends for
the Magic, which was 10-6 at week's end. After starting five
games in place of shooting guard Penny Hardaway (tendinitis in
left knee), the 6'8" Outlaw was averaging 10.1 points and 6.7
rebounds through Sunday--compared with career marks of 5.7
points and 4.2 rebounds entering the season--while shooting a
league-best 61.2% from the floor.

Kevin Willis, F-C, Houston Rockets. Thrust into the starting
lineup because of the ailments of power forward Charles Barkley
(groin) and center Hakeem Olajuwon (surgery last week on his
left knee to remove a medial plica), the 7-foot Willis, in his
14th season, has shown he hasn't lost the form that made him an
All-Star in 1992 for the Atlanta Hawks. With Houston at 8-5 and
on a five-game winning streak at week's end, Willis ranked
second among the Rockets in scoring (15.1 points) and third in
rebounds (8.8), while leading them in field goal percentage

Howard Eisley, G, Utah Jazz. The fourth-year pro has proved
himself a worthy potential successor at point guard to perennial
All-Star John Stockton, who hasn't played yet because of
preseason arthroscopic surgery to repair cartilage damage in his
left knee. With the 9-6 Jazz on a four-game winning streak,
Eisley was averaging 11.2 points and 5.7 assists, and his 60.0%
marksmanship from three-point range led the league.

Chris Gatling, F-C, New Jersey Nets. In his previous six seasons
with four teams, the 6'10" Gatling has preferred to come off the
bench. Thrust into a starting role because of an ankle injury to
rookie forward Keith Van Horn, Gatling had responded by
averaging 15.6 points and 7.2 rebounds, while helping surprising
New Jersey to a 10-5 start, good for a share of first place in
the Atlantic Division.


COLOR PHOTO: BOB ROSATO With star Hardaway ailing, the versatile Outlaw has proved to be just the trick for the Magic. [Charle (Bo) Outlaw and others in game]

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)