NBA FINALS NOTEBOOK

Nowitzki Is Unfazed by Hasselhoff, Coach Says

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By Michael Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, June 18, 2006

MIAMI, June 17 -- The Miami Heat turned Dirk Nowitzki's tongue-in-cheek comment about his musical tastes into a laugh-out-loud spectacle throughout the games at American Airlines Arena.

During the playoffs, Nowitzki said he hummed the David Hasselhoff song "Looking For Freedom" to calm himself at the foul line. Nowitzki's personal coach and confidant, Holger Geschwindner, said Saturday that Nowitzki made the comment in jest. Geschwindner persuaded Nowitzki to sing at the foul line to help him relax awhile ago, but added that he isn't humming Hasselhoff.

"Someone asked him what he was singing. The guy said, 'David Hasselhoff?' and [Dirk] said, 'Yes' to get rid of him," Geschwindner said. "And they blow the story up."

Heat fans have been heckling Nowitzki with chants of "Da-vid! Hassel-hoff!" every time he steps to the foul line, while fans behind the basket frantically wave placards with Hasselhoff's photo.

Although Nowitzki, a 90.1 percent free throw shooter in the regular season, has missed four free throws in two games in Miami -- including one that could have sent Game 3 into overtime -- Geschwindner said the taunting is "not working. I guess it was a good try. On a funny level, I like it."

But Geschwindner said if anyone should be pleased with the publicity, it's Hasselhoff.

"The guy was pretty much out of business," Geschwindner said with a laugh, "and now . . ."

Here and Now

Heat reserve center Alonzo Mourning hasn't decided if Game 5 will be his last game played in Miami. The 14-year veteran, who has spent almost nine years with the Heat, has averaged 18.3 points and 9.1 rebounds over his career, which was nearly derailed by a kidney ailment. Mourning, 36, said he hasn't begun considering retirement.

"I haven't made any decisions about what the future of my career entails," Mourning said. "Right now, my main focus is to just try to contribute to the success of this franchise and for us to win a championship. When that does happen, that's when I'll sit down take the summer to decide with my family what will be best for me."

Wade Finds the Range

After Dwyane Wade scored 36 points in Game 4, making eight of his 13 field goals from 15 feet or beyond, the Mavericks have had to revise comments that Wade wasn't proficient from the perimeter.

"I think you know throughout the season, he wasn't known as a jump shooter. It was no disrespect to him," Mavericks forward Josh Howard said.

Wade, who made 2 of 5 three-point attempts in Game 4, has hit more three-pointers in the playoffs (14) than he did in the regular season (13).

"I think they said I can't shoot; that's what was said, right?" Wade said. "So why would they contest my shots? I can't shoot."


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