The Michigan Daily-Friday, October 13, 1978-Page 13
SAN ANTONIO, HOUSTON BATTLE FOR TITLE
Texas showdown in NBA Central
By SCOTT M. LEWIS
Texas. The home of gushing oil wells,
ten-gallon hats and world-famous
cheerleaders. The site of some of the
most intense football in the country.
And the host of the hottest rivalry in the
MBA-Houston vs. San Antonio.
Last year playes on both sides swap-
ped insults and criticisms, and neither
,squad has given any indication of en-
oing the verbal bickering.-
But the real battle will be fought on
the court. And when the smoke clears in
April, the Spurs will sit atop the Cen-
tral, with the Rockets also soaring
toward playoff green.
The other teams in the
'division-Detroit, Atlanta, Cleveland
and New Orleans-are all competitive,
but each has too rgany uncertainties to
challenge for the title.
Team by team, here's a look at the
SAN ANTONIO-The Spurs will run
and gun and their fans will have the fun.
.Coach Doug Moe's electrifying style of
play, good for 52 wins last season, will
again send HemisFair Arena patrons in-
Scoring king George Gervin, a
Detroit native, renegotiated his $150,000
per year contract this summer, and,
despite what his agent claims, is
primed for another banner year.
Helping Gervin spearhead the attack
is flashy forward Larry Kenon, who has
finally discovered that there are two
ends to a basketball court. Add to this
tandem workhorse center Billy Paultz,
defensive specialist Mike Gale and a
healthy James Silas and one has the
makings of a Central champion.
HOUSTON-The Rockets feel the
restored health of Moses Malone
(broken foot) and Rudy Tomjanovich
(facial injuries) plus the addition of
Rick Barry will be enough to produce
an NBA championship.
From an offensive standpoint, their
*: hopes have a sound base. However, a
lack of depth and poor rebounding will
,prevent the Rockets from toppling the
Spurs. Neither Barry nor Tomjanovich
s a great rebounder. Rudy T. may even
be a bit gun-shy after his experience of
t *ast year.
Signing free agent Barry cost
Houston the services of team leader
John Lucas, but Calvin Murphy can
ably fill the playmaking void. Guard
Mike Newlin, Barry and Murphy form
an uncanny foul shooting trio.
The talent drops off after the first
five, however, and as any coach will
admit, a weak bench spells disaster
regardless of what starters step on the
DETROIT-The Pistons will rebound
from a disappointing 1977-78 season and
post at least a .500 record. This may not
be good enough to qualify for the
playoffs, though, as Atlantic Division
members Philadephia, Washington,
New York and Boston all have more
firepower than the revamped
Despite many offseason changes the
Pistons' mainstay will be veteran cen-
ter Bob Lanier, back with the team af-
ter post-season knee surgery last
spring. Kevin Porter, Chris Ford, and
John Long form a talented backcourt
trio 'while M.L. Carr, John Shumate,
and Terry Tyler are a solid nucleus at
the forward position for. the Pistons.
Backup center Leon Douglas and
reserve guard Rickey Green give the
w Pistons' new coach Dick Vitale some
depth on his bench.
Vitale plans on reinstating the fast
break in the Pistons' offense this season
and hopefully it will produce rapid im-
provements over the club's showing
ATLANTA-The cheapskate Hawks
tried to shed their image this spring.
Owner Ted Turner opened his bulging
wallet to lure power forward Dan
Roundfield away from Indiana.
To further bolster its sagging offense,
Atlanta drafted three quick,
penetrating guards-Jack Givens, Rick
Wilson, and Butch Lee.
Coach-of-the-Year Hubie Brown's
major task is to keep his troops as
hungry and defense-conscious as they
were last season, when a relatively lit-
tie-known bunch scrapped its way to a
.FThis Sunday, October 15, Palmer
ld will be the site of an international
soccer festival. Teams from Brazil,
Turkey and Africa as well as other
countries will be participating. Con-
tests begin at 1:30 p.m. and will feature
games on three levels: junior (elemen-
tary school), intermediate (high
j school) and senior (soccer clubs). The
Aevent is being sponsored by the Inter-
w - ~Michigan students may apply and
pay for basketball tickets on October
''20-21 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the
ro track and tennis building.
If applications exceed the student
allotment (5500) a lottery will be held at
k ta later date.
Student priority will be determined
41-41 record and the playoffs. threaten the leaders., Walt Frazier,
CLEVELAND-The Cavaliers will hobbled by a recurring foot injury and
stumble out of the starting gate. slowed by his 34 years, no longer is the
Elmore Smith, who provided a ball-hawk of yesterday, while Foots
steadying force at center during the Walkr is most effective in a reserve
. San Antonio
6. New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS-Down in Cajun
Country, the Jazz is holding its own
summit, from which Coach Elgin
Baylor hopes to extract "A Framework
for Peace Between the Truck and the
Leonard "Truck" Robinsin deman-
ded to be traded at the close of last
season, accusing the Jazz of setting one
set of rules for Maravich and another
for the rest of the team. Maravich
returned the compliment by saying that
he had lost respect for his teammate.
Baylor has another problem to con-
tend with-how to use Slick Watts. The
entertaining guard, acquired from
Seattle last December, is most effective
when he's handling the ball. With
Maravich and Robinson in the same
lineup, Slick won't be a happy man this
Nor will Elgin Baylor.
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Cavs' stretch run, underwent ex-
ploratory knee surgery Wednesday.
Coach Bill Fitch gave a gloomy
progress report. "He (Smith) could be
out two weeks, two months or all
season," said Fitch. "As of now we
don't know for sure."
Even with a sound Smith (Elmer, not
bingo), Cleveland doesn't figure to
Jim Chones, a forward-turned-
center-turned-forward, assumes the
pivot in Smith's absence.
Former Michigan standout Campy
Russell dazzles opponents and fans with
his one-on-one magic, but "Mr.
Moves"' talents are more suited for
I HUNDRED PA
4D A DRESS RE
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Don't get left behind because there was too much
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(across from Museum of Art)
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