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Blazers Coach Gets Started

Friday, March 4, 2005; Page D04

The changes were evident as Kevin Pritchard took charge of his first practice as interim coach of the Trail Blazers yesterday, one day after Maurice Cheeks was fired.

There was a formal practice schedule posted on the wall at the team's practice facility, and Pritchard was noticeably vocal during drills.

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Cheeks was fired a little more than 24 hours earlier as Portland struggled to a 22-33 record, the team's worst mark this many games into the season since 1975-76.

Pritchard, 37, was hired as the team's director of player personnel in August after being a scout for the Spurs.

The change in coaches signaled a youth movement for the Blazers, with the emphasis shifting from winning games to evaluating young talent.

Pritchard reinforced the movement when he singled out 19-year-old rookie point guard Sebastian Telfair.

"We're going to try to really run up and down," said Pritchard, a former standout at Kansas who played four seasons in the NBA, including briefly for the Bullets in 1996.

• MOVES: The Nets activated F Brian Scalabrine from the injured list and placed F Billy Thomas on it with a sore right Achilles' tendon.

Scalabrine missed 16 games after having surgery on his left knee on Feb. 10. The veteran averaged 5.8 points and 4.5 rebounds.

Thomas averaged 5.4 points and 1.9 rebounds in 17 games.

-- From News Services

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