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Rivers: Holiday games no treat

By BRUCE LOWITT

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 1, 2000


ORLANDO -- Coach Doc Rivers said the NBA couldn't have picked a worse night than Halloween to start the season.

"A horrible day, if you want to be honest, if this is a kid-friendly league," he said Tuesday. "I know four or five parents who gave their tickets away for opening night because they had to take their kids trick or treating.

"There's 41 (home) games, one Halloween."

Those comments led to ones about other holiday games. The Magic plays an afternoon game Dec. 25 at Indiana, and Dec. 26 at Milwaukee.

"I understand somebody has to play on Christmas Day. It's part of our business," Rivers said. "But that and the day after, that bugs me a little bit. At least let us get back (Christmas) night because it's an afternoon game. ... We're going to leave (Orlando) very late on Christmas Eve. It's not something I'd normally do because it's an afternoon game. There'll be no shoot-around the next morning; we'll just play. Heck, it's one day."

WHY NOT?: Owner Rich DeVos hung around the locker room before the game. The subject of a team slogan came up, and DeVos came up with one on the spot: "Let's win 'em all."

He acknowledged he hadn't run it past Rivers. Then DeVos smiled and said there was nothing wrong with last season's slogan: "Why not us? Why not now?"

FINALLY, THEY COUNT: The Magic went 7-1 in the preseason. As good as that was, Rivers said, he thinks the preseason is too long.

"I'm really fighting for six exhibition games," he said. "Who needs eight?"

Well, the Magic did a year ago, Rivers acknowledged, when he was trying to fit together the pieces of a virtually totally new team. "Yeah, I needed two or three more (than eight)," he said.

This year, though, he said he was more concerned about the team going flat before the season began.

"That's why I started screwing around with the lineup, playing different people. At some point you've got to keep things interesting," Rivers said.

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