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Sixth Sense
Phil Taylor
April 27, 1998
In the end, Michael Jordan should add to his five title rings, but for starters the NBA playoffs promise an entrancing mix of hot streaks mind games and other unpredictable forces
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April 27, 1998

Sixth Sense

In the end, Michael Jordan should add to his five title rings, but for starters the NBA playoffs promise an entrancing mix of hot streaks mind games and other unpredictable forces

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The Jazz's Jeff Hornacek vs. the Lakers' Eddie Jones. The 6'4" Hornacek is a smart, hardworking defender, but he's at an extreme disadvantage against quick, athletic-shooting guards like the 6'6" Jones, whom he would meet in the Western finals. Utah often goes to Russell or forward Shandon Anderson to guard leapers like Jones, Jordan or the Trail Blazers' Isaiah Rider, but then the Jazz loses Hornacek's outside shooting and court sense.

The Pacers' Chris Mullin vs. the Cavaliers' Cedric Henderson. Henderson, a second-round draft choice, has had a surprisingly good rookie season, but Mullin is a clever, 13-year veteran forward who has waited four years since he was last in the playoffs (with the Warriors). He could give Henderson an education in the first round.

Referees Bob Delaney, Hugh Evans and Leroy Richardson vs. Madison Square Garden fans. The three refs erroneously ruled that New York guard Allan Houston's last-second shot against Miami on April 12 came after the final buzzer, costing the Knicks a win. Think New York fans will forgive and forget?

5. WHO CAN KNOCK DOWN THE OUTSIDE SHOT?

The following shooters are like thermometers—if they're hot, their teams will be too:

Reggie Miller, Pacers. One of the few players capable of taking over a game with his jump shot. Absolutely fearless, he demands the ball with the game on the line. His playoff scoring average of 24.7 points is five higher than his career regular-season average.

Glen Rice, Hornets. He hasn't quite matched the phenomenal season he had last year, and he doesn't have Miller's clutch reputation, but he's still the first priority for opposing defenses. An ominous note for Charlotte: Rice's three-point shooting accuracy in the playoffs, 31.4%, is more than nine points lower than his career regular-season percentage.

Dale Ellis, SuperSonics. His three-point field goal accuracy this season was a remarkable 46.4%, but he's battling an abdominal strain that could turn out to be a large pain for Seattle.

John Starks, Knicks. Though mired in a horrendous shooting slump toward the end of the regular season, he has been a playoff spark plug more often than not.

Isaiah Rider, Trail Blazers. His shot selection is awful, but when he's hot, it doesn't matter.

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