Mike Dunleavy likes his team to run. People who knew him as the longtime Milwaukee Bucks assistant say so. That's why it's surprising that the Los Angeles Lakers, the team he now coaches, have become walk-it-ups.

Against the Chicago Bulls last week, Los Angeles settled for three-point shots, ran only when A.C. Green was in the game for Sam Perkins at forward and generally looked more like Minnesota than the Timberwolves.

"We ran for 10 years in the '80s," Lakers forward James Worthy said. "And teams kind of modeled their game after ours. 'Let's run and let's get back. We know we've got to get back.' I think teams are doing a better job against us.

"I don't think we've got to settle for {less running}. You've got to keep trying to improve it."

The Lakers counter that they're leading the league in defensive rebounding and that teams are shooting 46 percent against them, which puts them near the top. But by sending three or four players to rebound, they've sacrificed a major part of "Showtime."

"If you get the rebounds, you can go," Dunleavy said. "You take chances and gamble a lot, and your personnel's not geared to doing that. It doesn't make sense to take those chances."

Forcing turnovers "is an area that, obviously, we are a little deficient in. On the other side, I'm pleased with the field goal percentage teams are shooting against us. You've got to have one or the other. You've got to have a team that goes out and goes for steals like the Bucks, and then might not be able to rebound as well, or get a team that tries to stay in and play better defense, and rebound and try to get out that way. I think with our personnel that's the best way to do it." Shooting, Sinking

Same in Indiana. The off-the-floor battles between former coach Dick Versace and his players were bad enough. But the Pacers were badly out of sync offensively as well, and President Donnie Walsh knew it.

Before he fired Versace last week, he said: "We have great shooters. It's just the knowledge of how to coordinate our inside game with our outside game. We have great shooters on this team, but if you don't get the ball into a 7-4 center {Rik Smits} enough times, people are going to play out there and you have to make difficult shots.

"Last year we were one of the better shooting teams in the league {fourth at .497}. This year we haven't been. . . . I don't think we're a 65-shot team. We're not a 70-shot team. We've got to get up there around 85, 90 shots a game. Then we've got a good chance to win no matter who we play." . . .

Michael Jordan was asked by the National Sports Daily why he and Magic Johnson didn't just go out by themselves, without fans, media or David Stern, and play that one-on-one game the league put the kibosh on last year.

"I'd kill him," Jordan said. But afterward "there'd be too much lying going on. He'd tell too many stories; I'd tell too many stories. . . . If I'm hitting my jump shot, he wouldn't know what to do. Play me right? Play me left? Lunch."

Said Johnson: "I can't wait till it happens. We just need $20 million apiece. They paid Buster Douglas and Holyfield that much, and America got what? A minute? You know our game would be an hour and a half, two hours. . . . We're better known than Buster, and he got 23 mil. We'll put on a better show than the last five or six big fights. . . . Let's treat it like a boxing match, put it in Vegas somewhere. Put us in the middle or one of those big hotels."

'Hot Rod' on Ice

Mark Price hobbled into Richfield Coliseum last week on crutches. John "Hot Rod" Williams was going through his sixth or seventh foot cast, he wasn't sure which. No rocket scientists were around, and they didn't have to be. The Cleveland Cavaliers' season was limping.

Williams, he of the $26.5 million contract, "begged" team doctors to take off the cast that covers his sprained left foot, and which will continue to do so for another three weeks or so. He's had to watch the Cavaliers' season go down the tubes.

"Several games I knew if I was there, we would have won, no question," he said. "Right now we're undermanned a lot of games. It even hurts just sitting there and watching. When the team loses, I lose too. I don't think people realize that."

His season was going along fair enough -- 11.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.6 blocked shots -- when he went down Nov. 16 against Milwaukee. And now, he fears, he won't get a chance to show how little his huge contract would affect his effort.

"I wanted to prove to people what kind of person I was," Williams said. "I know a lot of people questioned whether this guy is going to come back and play hard. I know the coaches and the players on this team knew I wanted to play hard. They knew I didn't go out and try to do too much. I just played my normal game" before getting hurt.