When a shooter like Jeff Hornacek makes just two of his 10 shots, like he did in a 35-minute appearance in Game 1 of the NBA Finals Wednesday, everybody notices. When that player has had recent knee and Achilles tendon problems, everybody assumes it's because of the injuries.
Hornacek gave other valid reasons for his shooting performance and insisted he felt fine after the 10-day layoff.But when an out-of-town reporter asked him if his kids ever see him when he's not wearing an ice pack around the house, Hornacek 'fessed up.
"No," he said. "In fact, my wife says to me that I'm making hypochondriacs of them. I'm always going, `Oh, this hurts,' or, `That hurts.'
"The kids will come home with a little bump and say, `Dad, I need an ice bag.'
"Kids don't need ice bags," Hornacek snorted.
He was also told that when teammates Karl Malone and John Stockton were asked during a press session about Hornacek's injuries, Stockton looked at Malone and smiled. "I got the impression you were fighting through a lot," the reporter said to Hornacek.
"I think maybe earlier I was," Hornacek said, "but last night I felt good. I think they laugh a lot because my knee - which isn't bothering me now, but throughout the year there were times where you've got to ice it a lot - so they laugh about it, but right now, I feel pretty good."
MISSING IN ACTION: Hornacek's story on the missed shots: "I didn't really have too many normal shots. I threw a three-pointer from three-quarters-court. Some of the other shots, I tried to drive and draw fouls," Hornacek said. "I think that's where I may have made the mistake of thinking they may have called something (foul), and I think I may have had four or five of those where I ran into someone who was trying to take a charge and (where I was) trying to draw a three-point play.
"I don't think I had any normal jump shots," Hornacek said, adding he isn't hurt at all, thanks to the long layoff. "I'm just glad all that stuff's (injuries) gone," he said.
Asked if he could have played immediately after the Laker series, he said, "I could have played, yeah. I'd have been out there against Jordan, ha, ha. It probably wouldn't have been a pretty sight."
FAUX REPORTING: Thursday's media session found some faux reportage mixed in with the general-issue press corps. A duo called the "Sports Jerks" from the Comedy Central TV channel, one dressed in Jazz paraphernalia and the other in Bulls' regalia, told Antoine Carr that Greg Ostertag had said he was a better fisherman than the Big Dawg.
"Well, the fact is," Carr said, "he has to be smarter because when you're fishing, you have to adapt to the weather, the barometer (and) a whole lot of other things. So if (he thinks he's) a better fisherman, he's going to have to study a little bit."
The Jerks asked, "What's the biggest fish you ever caught?"
"Probably about a 140-pound shark," replied the Dawg.
FUNNY MEN: A TV crew headed by comic Kevin Meaney from The Tonight Show With Jay Leno was also wandering around. Meaney carried a game ball around with him asking why they played with such a dirty object and why they didn't clean it.
"Let us have your name again?" said Meaney to Shandon Anderson. "And you played last night, and how many points did you score?"
"Six," said Anderson.
"You scored six points, and you went into overtime?" said Meaney. "Now, do you get paid extra when you go into overtime?"
"Oh, no extra. It's part of the job," said Anderson, trying to be helpful.
"So, you tell your wife that you're coming home at a certain time, and it goes into overtime - what does she say?" Meaney asked.
"Oh, I'm not married, so I don't have to answer that one," said Anderson.