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Mr. Hypocrisy

Denver Nuggets center Dikembe Mutombo blocked nine shots in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers this season, victimizing Jerry Stackhouse four times. “What’s wrong with him, Stackhouse, Steakhouse or whatever his name is?” Mutombo wondered. “When you come to the league, you got to know who you play against.”

So much for knowing one’s opponent. Tell us, Dikembe: Is it Stackhouse or Steakhouse?

Mac the Mouth

There’s never been a question of Don MacLean’s cockiness. Once, while he was with the Bullets, MacLean suggested the team print a poster bearing his likeness. “I’m buff,” he told the team’s media staff, in his stereotypically cocky California beach-boy twang.

So it’s no surprise that MacLean reportedly wouldn’t shut up while matching a career-high with 38 points in Denver’s win over the Warriors last month. Nothing could stop MacLean, including a Chris Gatling forearm.

Gatling popped MacLean in the mouth in the fourth quarter, separating the former UCLA star from one of his teeth. No foul was called, and MacLean and his teammates were furious. Later, MacLean flattened Gatling while setting a pick. The league fined and suspended both players.

“(MacLean) was having a good game,” Warriors guard Tim Hardaway conceded. “(But) this is your first time scoring 30 points since high school. He’s a coward. That’s why he got his tooth knocked out.”

Hardaway said MacLean kept on talking even after Gatling’s impromptu dental work - although exactly what MacLean said was unknown. “I don’t know, we couldn’t understand him,” Hardaway said. “His tooth was out. He was going ‘bluh, bluh, bluh, bluh, bluh.’ How many times do we play them? I can’t wait to get at him. We’ll take out the rest of his teeth.”

MacLean, rarely at a loss for words, was so furious that he declined comment after the game. The teams meet again March 9 in Denver.

His favorite fruit-flavored candy? Nerds

From our get-a-life bureau in Toronto comes news that Raptors coach Brendan Malone skipped the team Christmas party to watch two NBA games live and catch two more on videotape.

He really cut loose on New Year’s Eve - watching video in a party hat he made out of a stat sheet.

Sod commentary

Tostitos couldn’t have commercialized the Fiesta Bowl any more, but the Sims Company managed. The Ann Arbor firm devised the idea of ripping up the turf at Sun Devil Stadium and selling it as souvenirs following Nebraska’s 62-24 romp over Florida.

It seems the grass was going to be uprooted anyway and new sod planted for Super Bowl XXX. So the Michigan company offered to market clumps of it to fans - at anywhere from $25 to $100 a pop.

The last word …

“Nobody gets through the mid-‘90s without some kind of rap. If Wuerffel were at Vanderbilt, they say, he wouldn’t be as good. Right. If it weren’t for that gulf and that ocean and that sunshine, nobody would live in Florida. So what?” - Mark Whicker, Orange County Register, on Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

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