Antonio Daniels Really, Really Wants to Play for Pitino


SALT LAKE CITY - So great is Antonio Daniels' desire to play for Rick Pitino that the Bowling Green point guard is trying to schedule a second audition with the Celtics.

Daniels was suffering from a sore knee when he worked out for the Celts at UMass-Boston two weeks ago, and he wasn't pleased with his performance. Nor were the C's overly impressed.

"I had a bit of jumper's knee, and it limited some of the things I could do," Daniels said. "I'm almost fully recovered now, and I want to get back to Boston to work out for them again.

"I want to show them Antonio Daniels at 100 percent. I didn't like how things went the last time, and I'd hate to have that be the main thing they remember of me."

Like others who figure to go at the top of the June 25 draft, Daniels would like to be a part of Pitino's up-tempo system.

"I just think he'd be great to play under," Daniels said. "He was a great guy to talk to - a very classy guy. But I don't think he really saw what I have to offer, and I want to show him."

Daniels hopes to impress with his passing skills.

"I think the shoot-first point guard is kind of outdated," he said, neglecting reigning rookie of the year Allen Iverson. "I'm a team point guard. That's how I play."

Crowd sounds off

One of the main issues for Utah heading into last night's 78-73 Jazz victory over Chicago was the expected noise level of the Delta Center crowd.

"It will be a somewhat different crowd," Jazz owner Larry Miller, who did not watch the game from the stands in observance of his Mormom faith, said the day before. "But the city's population - Mormon versus non-Mormon - is a lot more diverse than most people think.

"It's, give-or-take, 50-50. But it will be just as loud," he predicted.

The arena did live up to the volume level of one of its sponsor's flights at takeoff, but there was a healthy scattering of open seats in the facility's lower bowl.

Finding good tickets for sale on the street two hours before tipoff was not a difficult task, suggesting that the local economy got a non-taxable boost.

For the pregame pyrotechnics, which the Bulls have complained about, coach Phil Jackson wore ear plugs.

It isn't the color purple

The staff at the Marriott here was quick on the draw, decked out in fine NBA Finals polo shirts. But there's a reason the colors don't fit the omnipresent purple of the Jazz.

It seems the J.W. Marriott in Houston was so certain the Rockets would be making this series, it ordered the shirts in the home team's colors and waited.

According to one of the hotel staffers here, "When the Jazz beat the Rockets, we got a phone call from Houston offering us a real good deal on some NBA Finals shirts."

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