L.A. Lakers at Utah (8 p.m. EDT). Shaquille O’Neal and the Lakers, fourth in the Western Conference, could fall into sixth with a loss to Karl Malone and the Jazz.
Winning the NBA title will bring a bonus payment of about $100,000 to each member of the championship team. The NBA said the playoff pool for the 2000-01 season will be $7.5 million _ the same amount as last season. The players on the team that wins the title will get to divide $1,290,000 however they choose. The losing team in the finals will get to divide $855,000.
SUITING UP, AGAIN
Charlotte Hornets forward Derrick Coleman is ready to return to the lineup. The 6-foot-10 Coleman participated in a short scrimmage and showed no lingering effects from the strained left calf that sidelined him for 20 games.
New Jersey Nets guard Sherman Douglas had surgery Monday to repair a ligament in his right thumb. Douglas, who broke the thumb in a game against Vancouver on March 20, will have to wear a cast for five weeks. Douglas played in 59 games this season, averaging 5.7 points, 2.4 assists and 18.5 minutes.
Phoenix point guard Jason Kidd was named player of the week in the NBA. Boston guard Paul Pierce was named player of the month.
``The whole goal this year has been to get into the playoffs, and we did it. We’re in, that’s all I care about.″ _ Charlotte coach Paul Silas on the Hornets clinching a playoff spot.