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Officials investigate waterfront deck collapse

NORTH BAY VILLAGE — Investigators began examining a twisted pile of concrete, metal and wood Friday to determine why a waterfront deck at a sports bar collapsed into Biscayne Bay, injuring two dozen gathered to cheer the hometown Heat in the Finals.

Authorities estimated about 100 people were on the deck at Shuckers Bar & Grill when a support on one end apparently gave way Thursday night, causing the deck to buckle in the middle and drop about 8 feet into the bay. The scene Friday was a tangle of partly submerged green plastic chairs, tables, umbrellas, and even flip-flops and cell phones lost in the chaos.

"It was a shock," said Martin Torres, 42, who was in South Florida from Los Angeles to board a cruise. "People were yelling. Nobody knew."

Miami-Dade Fire Chief David Downey said 24 people were taken to hospitals with cuts and bruises, though one suffered a fracture. By midday Friday, only one remained hospitalized with unknown injuries.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters in San Antonio — where his team is preparing for Sunday's Game 5 against the Spurs — that he had been there many times. "It's a great venue. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it and how it happened," he said.

North Bay Village is a small series of islands in Biscayne Bay with a strip of restaurants, hotels, houses and condos.

Paul-Howard talk? Point guard Chris Paul and center Dwight Howard have been in consistent contact recently about the possibility of becoming teammates next season, espn.com reported. The all-star players in Los Angeles — Paul with the Clippers, Howard with the Lakers — likely would be the biggest free agents on the market this summer. The most likely scenario that would have Paul and Howard together would involve a sign-and-trade with Howard going to the Clippers, who would likely have to send Eric Bledsoe and Blake Griffin in return to the Lakers.

Karl fights back: George Karl, fired by the Nuggets after a season where he was named coach of the year, criticized team president Josh Kroenke for the move. "Josh was nice and complimentary, said he'd honor my contract and the coaches," Karl told the Denver Post. "The conversation was on the decision, and I said, 'I think I should tell you, I think it's very stupid.' And since then, I don't understand it. … I'm sorry that 57 wins doesn't make you happy."

Coaching moves: Karl is reportedly interviewing for the Grizzlies job on Monday. … The Clippers were impressed with former Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins after a second round of interviews for their vacancy, the Los Angeles Times reported. After his Clippers interview, Hollins was reportedly headed to Denver to interview there. Pacers assistant Brian Shaw and former Cavaliers and Hornets coach Byron Scott are scheduled to interview in Los Angeles.

Rose report: Bulls point guard Derrick Rose, out all of this season rehabbing a torn ACL in his left knee, feels like himself again, coach Tom Thibodeau said. "I worked him out about a week ago," Thibodeau told espn.com. "It was great. Watching the way he's moving now, there's a confidence. … He feels great, and that's the most important thing."

Officials investigate waterfront deck collapse 06/14/13 [Last modified: Friday, June 14, 2013 9:27pm]
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