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No lockout, no strike, all NBA offers is a normal season

Everyone, in unison.


The NBA has averted its first work stoppage, ensuring that unlike major-league baseball and hockey, the 1994-95 season will tip off as scheduled on Friday.


So, here's a guide to the ins and outs of another season:

It's all a numbers game: These are some of the numbers NBA fans will be bantering about for the next eight months:

0 _ The number of playoff games the Orlando Magic has won. The team, buoyed by free agents Horace Grant and Brian Shaw, is considered by many a favorite to win the NBA championship.

1 _ The number of years left for historic Boston Garden. The last regular-season game is April 21 against New York. Next season, the Celtics move into the Shawmut Center, which is air-conditioned.

1.8 _ The number of seconds left in Game 3 of the Chicago-New York series when Scottie Pippen refused to play because the final shot was called for Toni Kukoc. "I'm just glad to have given the media something to write about for the rest of my career," Pippen said recently.

2 _ The number of new arenas opening, the United Center (Chicago) and Gateway Coliseum (Cleveland).

3 _ The streak of 60-plus losses in a season for Minnesota.

5 _ The number of times Dallas beat Minnesota last season. The Mavericks were a robust 8-69 against everyone else.

6 _ The number of coaches San Antonio has had since the 1991-92 season: Larry Brown, Bob Bass, Jerry Tarkanian, Rex Hughes, John Lucas and now Bob Hill.

7 _ The number of new players Celtic rookie general manager M.L. Carr brought in: Dominique Wilkins (free agent), Pervis Ellison (free agent), Eric Montross (draft), Blue Edwards (trade), Derek Strong (trade), David Wesley (free agent) and Greg Minor (free agent).

9 _ The number of coaching changes from last season: Dick Motta (Dallas), Bill Fitch (Los Angeles Clippers), Del Harris (Los Angeles Lakers), Bill Blair (Minnesota), Butch Beard (New Jersey), Lucas (Philadelphia), P.J. Carlesimo (Portland), Hill (San Antonio) and Jim Lynam (Washington).

12 _ The height in feet of the bronze statue of Michael Jordan that will be unveiled at the United Center on Tuesday.

13 _ The number of wins Atlanta coach Lenny Wilkens needs to reach 939 and break Red Auerbach's record.

22 _ The distance, in feet, of the three-point shot. It was 23-9 at the arc in the past and 22 in the corners.

29 _ The number of teams next season, after the addition of Toronto and Vancouver.

539 _ The number of assists Utah's John Stockton needs to reach 9,922 in his career, which would eclipse record-holder Magic Johnson.

15,964,000 _ The amount of the salary cap this season, an increase of almost $800,000 per team from last season.

100,000,000 _ The amount, in U.S. dollars, that No. 1 pick Glenn Robinson has demanded from the Milwaukee Bucks.

In the line of fire: They haven't lost a game, but these head coaches should be looking over their shoulders:

1. Allan Bristow, Charlotte. Expectations were high last season, but injuries to Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning kept the Hornets out of the playoffs. Expectations again are high and Johnson and Mourning still are aching.

2. Garry St. Jean, Sacramento. He's 53-111 and his team looks to struggle again. General manager Geoff Petrie, formerly of Portland, is a big fan of unemployed Portland ex-coach Rick Adelman.

3. Butch Beard, New Jersey. He has no professional head coaching experience and has been an NBA assistant about as long as he's been an NBA broadcaster. The New York media are poised to pounce on the guy if he turns out to be the next Quinn Buckner or Tarkanian.

Shrewd moves?: Some folks believe that only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers discard players and watch them prosper elsewhere. Not so. Consider :

1. Philadelphia sent Charles Barkley to Phoenix for Jeff Hornacek, Andrew Lang and Tim Perry in June, 1992. Barkley won an MVP and carried the Suns to the NBA Finals. Hornacek starts in Utah, Lang starts in Atlanta and Perry is still a reserve with the struggling 76ers.

2. New Jersey sent point guard Mookie Blaylock to Atlanta for Rumeal Robinson in November 1992. Robinson wasn't even a capable backup to Kenny Anderson and was dealt to Charlotte last season. Blaylock is one of the best.

3. Atlanta traded Wilkins and a first-round draft pick to the Los Angeles Clippers for Danny Manning in February. The Hawks reached the conference semifinals with Manning, but he spurned a lucrative long-term deal to sign with Phoenix. The Clippers then lost Wilkins, their best player, to free agency, but did get Greg Minor with the Hawks' pick. They shipped Mark Jackson and the rights to Minor to Indiana for Pooh Richardson, Malik Sealy and the rights to Eric Piatkowski.

Golden oldies: Many have talked of retirement or should have, but 7-footers are so coveted they would be foolish not to stick around. Here's the "these-guys-are-really-still-playing?" team:

1. Robert Parish, Charlotte. The Chief is 41 and entered the league when Gerald Ford was president. This will be his 19th season.

2. Moses Malone, San Antonio. Okay, he's only 6-10, but has to be on this list. Malone is 39 and is starting his 21st season, including two in the old ABA.

3. Bill Cartwright, Seattle. He's 37 and has a multiyear deal.

4. James Edwards, Portland. At 39, Edwards is starting his 18th season with an eighth club.

5. Tree Rollins, Orlando. At 39, Tree's added another ring to his NBA life. He's still looking for a championship ring.

Rookies to watch: The last draft was called "deep" by GMs around the league and here's some of the later picks who might distinguish themselves:

1. Eric Mobley, Milwaukee (18th). Robinson, the top pick, gets all the attention, but Mobley provides a much-needed defensive presence in the middle.

2. Wesley Person, Phoenix (23rd). He can flat-out shoot. From anywhere. His only problem will be getting enough playing time.

3. Tony Dumas, Dallas (28th). He will be overshadowed by fellow rookie Jason Kidd, the No. 2 choice, but he can run and has good shooting range.