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Suns' Ainge in finals with third different team

Danny Ainge of Phoenix is the fifth player to appear in the NBA Finals with three different teams.

Ainge previously played in four championship series with Boston in 1984-87 and was with Portland last year.

He joins Wilt Chamberlain, Clyde Lovelette, Larry Foust and Max Zaslofsky as players who were on three different finals teams.

Chamberlain played for the San Francisco Warriors in 1964, the Philadelphia 76ers in 1967 and the Los Angeles Lakers in 1972; Lovelette for Minneapolis in 1954, St. Louis in 1960-61 and Boston in 1963-65; Foust for Fort Wayne in 1955-56, Minneapolis in 1959 and St. Louis in 1960-61; and Zaslofsky for the Chicago Stags in 1947, New York in 1951-52 and Fort Wayne in 1955.

Out of Phoenix

The Bulls had reasons for not wanting to return to Phoenix besides the obvious one of winning the NBA title in Chicago.

"I don't want to go back to Phoenix because it's terribly hot there," Horace Grant said.

"There's a Grateful Dead concert in Chicago on Saturday night, and I won't be able to go if we don't close out the series," coach Phil Jackson said.

Guess Jackson will miss out.

Telecasting the finals

The 109 countries that are telecasting all or part of the NBA Finals is 16 more than last year.

Fifty-six countries have seen all or part of the finals live.

The six countries watching the finals for the first time are Bophuthatswana, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Martinique and Tunisia.

Suns long and short

Phoenix set a record for the most games needed to reach the NBA Finals with 18, surpassing the 17 needed by Boston in 1987 and the Los Angeles Lakers in 1988.

The Suns are trying to become the first team in 10 years to win a championship without a 7-footer. Tom Chambers, Jerrod Mustaf and Mark West are the tallest Suns at 6-10.

The last NBA champion without a 7-footer was Philadelphia in 1983. Mark McNamara (6-11) was the team's tallest player.

Uh, maybe not

A CBA team scrapped plans for a ticket promotion with a reference to the gambling habits of Michael Jordan.

Officials from the Rapid City Thrillers _ formerly the Tampa Bay Thrillers _ said they dumped the promotion idea after complaints from two of Jordan's corporate sponsors, Gatorade and Nike.

On June

6, Thrillers officials announced a promotional contest in conjunction with the Gold Dust casino in Deadwood. Fans who bought a T-shirt would qualify for a drawing for Thrillers season passes at the casino at 2:30 a.m. June

11.

The hour was the time in which Jordan allegedly left an Atlantic City casino the night before a playoff game with the New York Knicks. He has insisted he left the casino at 11 p.m.

Pippen on top

Scottie Pippen is having an outstanding all-around final series.

Going into Game 5, he was averaging 20.5 points, 9.3 rebounds and 9.0 assists.

_ TIMES WIRES

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