Miner's slams, Rice's treys bring Heat wave to competitions ALL-STAR NOTEBOOK

THE BALTIMORE SUN

PHOENIX -- After Miami Heat reserve guard Harold Miner put the final touches on his second NBA slam-dunk competition, he could hear teammate Glen Rice screaming.

"I heard Glen in the background saying that it was a Heat wave," Miner said. "I guess there was."

That's because earlier in the evening Rice defeated Indiana Pacers sharp-shooting guard Reggie Miller to win the three-point competition. And with Miner's slam-dunk win, it gave the Heat a sweep of the slam-dunk and long-distance shootout competitions.

Miner scored 46 points in the final round, easily outdistancing himself from Minnesota Timberwolves guard Isaiah Rider, who won last year's title.

The injury to Cleveland Cavaliers guard Mark Price opened opportunities in the the long-distance shootout. And Rice, whose 14 points in the preliminary round was the lowest among the four players who advanced, took advantage.

Rice scored 17 points in the final round, and then had to sit and wait. Miller missed three straight shots on his next-to-last rack of balls, probably costing him the win.

Million-dollar miss

For 16-year-old Mike Hoban, it was a chance to become an instant millionaire -- an opportunity to make a three-point shot that would earn him more money than a couple of All-Stars will earn this season.

So what did Hoban do with his chance at riches with the Foot Locker Million Dollar Shot during halftime of last night's NBA Rookie Game?

He shot an air ball.

It wasn't as if Hoban hadn't prepared for the shot. He had two highly publicized practice sessions with Phoenix Suns guard Dan Majerle. He was given a standing ovation when he was introduced, and took a couple of practice tosses straight up in the air, then paced off the space between the three-point line and the basket.

And he shot an air ball, about two feet short.

"I was definitely nervous out there," Hoban said. "I knew what I had to do, but my arms froze up as soon as I got out there."

Hoban, a sophomore on the junior varsity at Strongsville (Ohio) High School, had his name picked from the more than 6.25 million ballots cast at Foot Locker stores by fans throughout North America for this year's All-Star teams.

Miscellaneous

ESPN reported that Don Nelson will step dowqn as coach of the Golden State Warriors tomorrow, to be replaced by assistant coach Bob Lanier, and that Nelson's son, Donn, his top assistant, also will be let go. The Warriors have struggled, especially after trade that sent Chris Webber to the Washington Bullets.... A sprained finger might keep Cleveland's Tyrone Hill out of his first NBA All-Star Game. . . . Former Celtics guard Jo Jo White won the Legends Shootout for the second straight year. White beat former Buffalo Braves guard Randy Smith in a tiebreaker after the pair advanced past former Spurs guard George Gervin and former Hawk Lou Hudson in the first round. . . . Suns coach Paul Westphal, when asked whether Detroit Pistons forward Grant Hill can have an impact as a rookie in today's All-Star Game: "I can make Grant Hill the MVP," Westphal said, "by putting Charles [Barkley] on him."

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