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Get this party finished

January 20, 2003|by MARK KELLER

keller@herald-mail.com

I've made no attempts over the years to hide the fact that I just don't like the NBA.

It's the ultimate in overpaid, overhyped professional sports and something that just fails to spark any interest with me.

A guy in the newsroom, who happens to be a Utah Jazz fan, used to talk to me about the NBA all the time.

I think when I told him, "You're telling me this like I care," he got the message (though he still brings up the subject, he prefaces it by saying, "I know you're not an NBA fan, but ...).

Friday night, I found one more reason I can't stand the NBA.

If you've watched any NFL game the last three weeks, you've seen the commercials promoting the league's playoffs.

In fact, a Herald-Mail sports correspondent made reference to one of the ads in a story that appeared in Saturday's section.

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In essence, the spot talks about how the NFL has turned a simple five seconds into "five seconds."

In Friday night's vaunted Shaq vs. Yao matchup, the NBA showed how it can turn 10 seconds into 15 minutes.

If you didn't watch the game and were hoping to see the story in our Saturday edition, sorry about your luck.

We waited until the last possible minute to send our final page - the page that should have included the Lakers-Rockets game - to press.

Still the game just wouldn't end, but not because of the action on the court.

Think back two weeks ago to college football's national championship game between Ohio State and Miami - another game that seemingly wouldn't end (and, coincidentally, pushed us right to the edge on deadline).

At least in that game, the players were on the field. You almost didn't want that game to end because it was so exciting.

Such was not the case with Shaq and Yao (and, lest we forget, Steve Francis, who scored 44 points). No, most of the last 10 seconds of the game was spent in timeouts and station breaks.

We thought we had it made when, with 10 minutes until deadline, the game was down to 8.5 seconds.

Nearly five minutes and two timeouts later, we were still looking at 8.5 seconds to go.

Say goodbye to that page.

So, for those of you who missed the story in Saturday's paper, you'll be happy to know there is one on page D4 of this edition.

For those of you who have the same interest in pro basketball as I do, have no fear.

It really shouldn't take much more than 8.5 NBA seconds to read.

Mark Keller is sports editor of The Herald-Mail. His column appears every Sunday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2332, or by e-mail at keller@herald-mail.com

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